Suspected Turkish militants on trial in Germany

Suspected Turkish militants on trial in Germany

MUNICH - Reuters
Suspected Turkish militants on trial in Germany


Ten people of Turkish background accused of belonging to a left-wing militant group in Turkey went on trial in Munich on June 17 in a case that defense lawyers have criticized as politically motivated. 

The nine men and one woman face charges of organizing propaganda events, raising funds and recruiting for the outlawed Turkish Communist Party/Marxist-Leninist (TKP/ML), founded in 1972 and listed among a dozen active militant groups in Turkey. 

“It looks like a job on orders from Erdoğan,” Peer Stolle, who is representing two of the defendants, told the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper. 

Turkey has said it is discussing countermeasures after the ruling on the Armenian killings and that it threatens the friendship between them just as Chancellor Angela Merkel is relying on Turkey to stem the flow of migrants to Europe. 

The federal prosecutor says the main defendant, known as Müslüm E., was a senior figure of the foreign branch of TKP/ML from 2004 and helped raise about half a million euros ($560,000) in funds annually for the group. 

The other nine are accused of being members of the leadership committee and procuring money, as well as organizing propaganda events. In addition, they allegedly recruited new members and organized a military training camp in Iraq. 

The group were arrested between April and November 2015, in Germany, France, Austria and Switzerland. They do not face charges of committing acts of terror. 

“The group has carried out numerous attacks with firearms and explosives and committed arson which caused many people to be killed or injured,” the prosecutor said in a January indictment to describe the TKP/ML’s activities.

The trial is due to run until Oct. 28.