Germany extradites PKK member with Red Notice

The German branch of Interpol has handed over the first Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) member of 176 sought by Turkey with Interpol Red Notices, along with other PKK members, including some top leaders.

Germany extradites PKK member with Red Notice
The handing over of Eşref Kızılay, a PKK terrorist charged with martyring six Turkish police officers in the southern town of Adana, and PKK leaders Murat Karayılan, Cemil Bayık, Duran Kalkan and Rıza Altun by Germany has been interpreted by Turkish authorities as a major change in Europe's stance on terrorism. The hand-over came amid intense international lobbying by the Turkish government against the PKK. Kızılay, has been sought all around the world with an Interpol Red Notice since 1998, when he escaped from Turkey after killing the police officers.

He originally went to Germany and requested asylum. His request was denied by German authorities after Ankara appealed to Berlin for him to be immediately arrested. However, although he was first arrested and imprisoned in the German city of Koblenz -- 60 kilometers southeast of Bonn -- he was released three months later, much to Turkey's disappointment. But he was arrested again on Jan. 2, 2007, when Turkey began to put more pressure on Germany. As a result, the German Ministry of Justice made the decision to extradite Kızılay to Turkey. Two days ago, a group of officials from the Turkish Police Department received Eşref Kızılay from German authorities. He was immediately taken to the southeastern town of Diyarbakır to be interrogated.

Security sources see this extradition as a major step in the diplomatic relations between Germany and Turkey and as an indication of a change in how Europe views the separatist organization. An official who spoke on condition of anonymity pointed out that France had condoned the escape of some PKK members who are also being sought with Red Notices. "This decision of Germany will cripple the terrorist group's activities in Europe," the official noted.

Some high-ranking diplomats said the current number of PKK members sought with Red Notices is 176, excluding Eşref Kızılay. "The number has dropped to 176 with the extradition of Kızılay. It's now others' turn to be handed over," they said.

Turkey preparing to receive the rest

Turkey has long complained that European countries have turned a blind eye to its demands for cooperation against the PKK and that they have allowed fundraising and propaganda activities in their territory. In a recent case, Austrian authorities allowed a PKK member sought by Interpol to leave the country and eventually travel to northern Iraq, where the group's mountain bases are located. Following the handing over of Kızılay, the Turkish Ministry of Justice has launched a special effort to have the rest of the PKK members extradited to Turkey. The ministry, in a bid to avoid being caught unprepared, has set about updating the crime sheets of the PKK members in question. The ministry is working hand-in-hand with the police department to obtain more accurate information on the whereabouts and current status of the wanted PKK members.

According to data released by the police department, Turkey is currently seeking 603 people -- including Turks and non-Turks -- through Interpol because of various crimes committed in Turkey. Of all these criminals, 305 are members of terrorist groups, such as the PKK, the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C), the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party (MLKP) and al-Qaeda, and are sought in relation to terrorism-related crimes. A total of 133 are being sought for crimes committed against public peace, 111 are wanted for smuggling and 54 are sought for financial crimes.

Turkey has issued Red Notices for 413 of these 603 criminals. In addition, there is an international search warrant temporarily in effect for 104 of them until Red Notices can be issued for each of them.

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Güncelleme Tarihi: 29 Kasım 2007, 11:49