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Leader of Turkish biker gang on trial in Germany

March 26, 2018

The president of a "boxing club" that promotes far-right Turkish political positions in Germany is on trial for attempted murder. The Osmanen Germania gang is suspected of links to Turkey's ruling AK party.

Osmanen Germania biker jacket
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/P. Zinken

The self-anointed "world president" of the Osmanen Germania biker gang was on trial in Stuttgart on Monday over a number of charges, including the attempted murder of a former gang member. The man, 46, has not been named due to German privacy laws.

He is one of eight men arrested during a raid earlier in the month against what purports to be a boxing club, but what prosecutors say is a gang involved in a number of criminal activities.

Aside from the attempted murder of a deserter, other charges include grievous bodily harm, predatory extortion, deprivation of liberty as well as a number of drug and weapons offenses.

Knives and other weapons seized in police raids on the Osmanen Germania gang
Knives and other weapons seized in police raids on the Osmanen Germania gangImage: picture-alliance/dpa/K. Nguyen

'This is not a goodwill organization'

"This is not the boxing club as it was legally established. This is also not a goodwill organization keeping kids off the streets," said Jan Holzner, a spokesman for the prosecutors, referring to the positive image the gang has tried to give itself.

The club, which was founded in either 2014 or 2015 depending on who you ask, has 33 chapters and 400 members across Germany. It is suspected of having ties to the Turkish government and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's AK party. The gang advocates an extreme far-right Turkish-nationalist agenda.

The trial opened under tight security to make sure no fellow gang members tried to free their leaders. Helicopters and hundreds of police were on duty to escort the defendants to the courtroom, and the controls for the 120 members of the public allowed to witness the trial took an extra two hours to complete.

Holzner said they had received threats, but did not offer any further details.

The trial is expected to last until January 2019.

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Elizabeth Schumacher
Elizabeth Schumacher Elizabeth Schumacher reports on gender equity, immigration, poverty and education in Germany.