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Germany warns Turkey over AKP MP’s ‘hate speech’ targeting PKK members, Gülenists

Mustafa Acikgoz

AKP lawmaker Mustafa Açıkgöz

The German Foreign Ministry on Monday summoned the Turkish ambassador to issue a warning after a ruling party lawmaker’s “hate speech” in Germany targeting supporters of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the faith-based Gülen movement prompted scores of criminal complaints, Deutsche Welle Turkish service reported on Monday.

In video footage circulating on social media on Monday, Mustafa Açıkgöz, a lawmaker from Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), is seen calling for the “destruction” of supporters of the outlawed PKK and the Gülen movement during a meeting of the Grey Wolves in the German city of Neuss.

The Grey Wolves are seen as the paramilitary wing of the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), an ally of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

“Just as we won’t give them the right to live in Turkey, we won’t give them the right to live in Germany, either. No matter where they flee in the world, we will destroy the PKK and FETÖ terrorist groups,” Açıkgöz says, using a derogatory term coined by the Turkish government to refer to the Gülen movement as a terrorist organization.

His words led scores of people in Germany to file a criminal complaint against the MP, accusing him of publicly provoking people to commit a crime in a speech that could result in someone attacking and injuring or killing Turkish dissidents in Germany.

According to DW, the German Foreign Ministry on Monday warned the Turkish ambassador saying that “hate speech has no place in Germany” and that what Açıkgöz did during the meeting in Neuss “must not be repeated.”

“We made clear that foreign election campaign events must be approved by us in advance. If Turkish representatives don’t play by the rules, we must determine the consequences,” the ministry said in a tweet.

Açıkgöz’s speech comes at a time when Turkey readies for parliamentary and presidential elections slated for the summer.

The Turkish government accuses the Gülen movement of masterminding a failed coup on July 15, 2016 and labels it a “terrorist organization,” although the movement strongly denies involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.

The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey and much of the international community. More than 40,000 people, including 5,500 security force members, have been killed in four decades of fighting between the Turkish state and the PKK.

The developments are expected to speed up the banning of the Grey Wolves in Germany, whose “violent tendencies” are said to endanger internal security in a recent report by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), Germany’s domestic security agency.

In 2020 France officially banned the Grey Wolves after a center dedicated to the memory of those who died in the mass killings of Armenians during World War I was defaced with graffiti, including the name of the Grey Wolves.

The German government has faced an intensified public campaign in favor of banning the Turkish nationalist group since then.

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