Turkey wants Germany to hand over alleged supporters of Fethullah Gulen, the man they accuse of being the mastermind behind the failed coup. Strained relations between Berlin and Ankara look set to get a little more so.
Relations between Ankara and Berlin have been under pressure in recent months, with a series of diplomatic blows being exchanged, ranging from Germany's acknowledgement of Turkish culpability in the Armenian genocide, to Ankara's attempts to obtain EU membership. Berlin has also expressed its concern over the series of purges in Turkey following the recent coup attempt.
Turkey blames prosecutors linked to the US-based cleric for masterminding the failed military coup earlier this month. Turkey's foreign minister alleged on Wednesday that some prosecutors and judges who are part of Gulen's movement are currently in Germany.
"The Berlin government should extradite them," Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu told Broadcaster CNN Turk on Thursday.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in response to Cavusoglu's demand that Germany was "bound by the rule of law."
The minister said recently that Ankara's ties with Washington will be hurt if the US does not extradite the cleric, adding he would meet with US officials on the topic during a coming visit
Cavasoglu also told CNN Turk that over 300 personnel in the foreign ministry have been linked to the cleric, adding that Turkey may also remove some ambassadors linked to the coup attempt. "The EU can’t threaten Turkey," he said.
Washington is demanding a formal request with proof to warrant deportation. Amnesty International has charged that there is widespread torture in Turkish jails where alleged coup plotters are being held. Turkey rejects the claims.
jbh/kms (Reuters, dpa)