German Press Review: Cologne′s Caliph | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 13.10.2004
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German Press Review: Cologne's Caliph

German newspapers on Wednesday focused on the decision by German authorities to deport Islamic militant, Metin Kaplan, to Turkey, ending a year-long legal battle over his case.

The Nordwest-Zeitung in northern Germany wrote that the preacher of hatred, Kaplan, has at last arrived where he should have been long ago: in Turkey. Not only can the citizens of Cologne be relieved that the Caliph is no longer in their midst, the paper wrote. Kaplan has got what he deserved for inciting people to commit murder - extradition. It concluded that there is no room in Germany for violent fanatics of any color.

Freiburg’s Badische Zeitung said there won’t be many people who shed any tears for Kaplan. He's shown the constitutional state, in which he sought refuge, his contempt too often and too unambiguously for that, it wrote. The daily pointed out that the constitutional state also protects, in principle, those who would lose no time in abolishing it if they came to power. But must democracy look on, the paper asked, while fanatics work actively against it, by preaching hatred and mobilizing followers?

Berliner Morgenpost wrote that with Kaplan now facing court proceedings in Turkey on treason charges, the ball is now in the court of the Turkish authorities. The paper said that against the background of the start of EU accession talks next year, Turkey will seek to avoid any appearance of a violation of international law. For now especially Europe will be watching like a hawk to see how Turkey deals with its enemies, the daily concluded.

Other German dailies commented on considerations by Germany’s opposition Christian Democrats and their Bavarian sister-party, the Christian Social Union, to launch a petition against Turkey’s EU membership after the European Commission last week recommended the start of accession talks.

Berlin's Die Welt wrote that the question did arise over whether the EU Commission took a political preliminary decision a little too hastily and without adequate consultation. The debate is affecting Germany. Opinions are divided, even within the political parties. But the questions over referendums, the readiness of Ankara for Europe and the extents of the EU's borders remain unanswered, the daily wrote.

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