German court jails PKK militant
BERLIN/ISTANBULA German court jailed a Turkish national for membership with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) on July 13 amid accusations from Ankara that Berlin was protecting the militants.
The 47-year-old defendant was convicted by the superior regional court in the southwestern city of Stuttgart for belonging to the PKK, which it called “an especially dangerous terrorist organization.”
It handed down a jail sentence of three years and three months to the militant, who was not named by the court.
Prosecutors said he was a PKK militant in Germany for 30 months, executing orders from the outlawed group on fundraising, propaganda and recruitment.
Turkey has repeatedly accused Berlin of harboring “terrorists” and of failing to respond to requests to hand over suspects from the July 2016 coup attempt, as well as PKK militants.
The PKK is listed as a terror organization not just by Turkey but also the European Union and the United States.
In April, Germany reported a sharp rise in politically motivated crimes by foreigners including jihadists and PKK militants last year.
A total of 3,372 such cases were recorded, up 66.5 percent from 2015.
They include “criminal offences carried out in the name of foreign extremists” of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) or the PKK, Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said at the time.
Meanwhile, new details emerged regarding the anti-PKK operation carried out on July 13, in which 44 people, including the plotters of two deadly car-bomb attacks, were detained.
The plotters of two attacks in Istanbul were apprehended in a joint operation with the National Intelligence Agency (MİT), announced Istanbul Governor Vasip Şahin on July 13.
Those apprehended, identified only as Zozan K. and Gülşen B., are accused of planning deadly car bomb attacks in Beşiktaş and Vezneciler last year that left over 50 people dead and dozens of others wounded.
Authorities determined Gülşen B. was in connection with the suicide bomber of the Vezneciler attack and accessed footage of her casing the area before the attack. The footage also showed her remaining on watch during the attack and escaping from Istanbul via a bus in Esenler.
After tracking Gülşen B., intelligence teams reached Zozan K., who planned the attack in Beşiktaş. The authorities said Zozan K. escaped from the bomb-laden car three minutes and 52 seconds before the attack and went missing.
Both Zozan K. and Gülşen B. were detained in the July 13 operation and a list of people, including politicians that the PKK planned to assassinate and maps of the places chosen as targets were found on the former.
In Gülşen B.’s wallet, meanwhile, police found the picture of the suicide bomber in Beşiktaş.
Moreover, anti-terror police deciphered encrypted notes found on Zozan K. and determined that the PKK sent explosives to Istanbul for “a sensational terror attack.”
Raids were carried out in several districts of Istanbul to find the aforementioned explosives and police confiscated explosives, rifles, weapons and plenty of documents linked to the PKK.