Germany vows zero tolerance to PKK terrorism

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle has said Germany is not tolerating to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) activities in Europe and reiterated that his country considers the PKK as a terrorist organization.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle

Westerwelle told a joint news conference with his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoğlu following their talks in İstanbul that German government attaches big importance to fight agianst terrorism and that “we are not supporting the PKK.”

Westerwelle’s remarks came at a time when German prosecutors said they have arrested a Turkish man on charges of belonging to the PKK.

The federal prosecutors’ office said that Ali İhsan K., 45, was arrested on Wednesday in Hamburg. His full name was not released in accordance with German privacy laws.

Prosecutors said on Thursday the suspect was believed to have served as a leader of the PKK for the greater Hamburg region from 2007 to 2008. He is charged with organizing other members and collecting funds to support the group. 

Asked about Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s earlier remarks about German associations that he alleged indirectly funneling money to the PKK through business deals with municipalities, Westerwelle said he discussed this issue with the prime minister and that “some misunderstandings were solved,” without further elaborating.

He said German foundations in Turkey are respected and well-received institutions, adding that German government attaches important to fight against terrorism and that his country does not support the PKK in any way.

He added that German Supreme Court of Appeals decided last year that the PKK is a terrorist organization, noting that the organization is not only listed as a terrorist entity by Europe, there are also zero tolerance to it.

Responding to the same question, Davutoğlu said Erdoğan did not utter a phrase that German foundations “funnel money to the terrorist organization.”

Turkish foreign minister also confirmed that the issue of funneling money to the PKK came up during the meeting with his German counterpart and said “friends frankly talk about everything.”

PKK members have been using Iraq as a launch pad for attacks on Turkish targets in a war for autonomy in Turkey’s southeast. Turkey also long complained of the PKK’s financial resources in Europe. Turkish warplanes have recently struck PKK bases in Iraq in response to an escalation of attacks by the PKK members since July.

In latest violence in Turkey, suspected PKK members attacked a police station near the southern city of İskenderun, killing one policeman and wounding three others on Thursday, Gov. Celalettin Lekesiz of İskenderun province told the state-run Anatolia news agency. One attacker was killed at the scene and others fled after firing from speeding cars, he said.

Davutoğlu says one of important legs of the terrorism is PKK camps in northern Iraq and another is financial resources several Kurdish associations based in Europe provide to the terrorist organization.   

Davutoğlu said Erdoğan is planning a visit to Germany in early November to mark the 50th year of Turkish immigration to the EU member state, adding that Westerwelle will be in İstanbul at that time to attend a conference on Afghanistan.  

Davutoğlu said both foreign ministers comprehensively discussed Turkey’s European Union membership talks, adding that Germany and Turkey consider ties between Turkey and the 27-member club through a strategic perspective.

He said economic crisis, regional development and Turkish-EU relations have displayed how valuable Turkish-EU relations are.

vDavutoğlu said he also discussed visa facilitation talks between the EU and Turkey with his German counterpart and blasted the EU for double standards against Turkish nationals by denying visa facilitation. He said even those countries that have not even started membership talks enjoy visa facilitation but Turkey is what he said “carrying the burden of visa.”

Turkish foreign minister said commercial relations between Germany and Turkey have accelarated recently and that there are 4,500 German companies operating in Turkey and 70,000 Turkish companies in Germany.

He said trade volume between Germany and Turkey are currently $29 billion and that he said Turkey hopes it will advance further this year, adding that Turkey also expects 5 million German tourists this year.







13 October 2011, Thursday / TODAYSZAMAN.COM,