Mar 28 2018

Turkey arrests German for trying to join Kurdish YPG

Turkish police arrested Patrick Kraicker, 28, a German national, after he allegedly tried to cross the border into Syria to join Kurdish militants fighting against Turkey, Deutsche Welle reported.

Kraicker was detained on March 14 in southeastern Turkey while trying to cross the border through a restricted military zone, the German media company said citing Turkey’s state-run news agency, Anadolu.

A search of Kraicker and his belongings revealed photographs and digital media pertaining to the Democratic Union party (PYD) and the Kurdistan Workers’ party (PKK), Anadolu said, according to Deutsche Welle.

Kraicker has been detained for “aiding and abetting a terrorist organisation”, according to the report. Kraicker said he had spent four years in the German military before seeking to join the PYD and its armed affiliate, the People’s Protection Units (PYD).

But a spokesman for the German military said Kraicker was never in the army. It was unclear if Kraicker had a lawyer present at the time of his questioning by Turkish security services, Deutsche Welle said.

Relations between Turkey and Germany are at a low ebb after Turkey arrested several German citizens, including German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yucel, who has now been released after being accused of supporting the PKK. Turkey says Germany is not doing enough to support its struggle against a Kurdish uprising in Turkey and Syria.

Tens of thousands of Turkish citizens are in prison or on trial under sweeping anti-terror laws. Turkish authorities often make up elaborate charges based on flimsy or fabricated evidence, which is then spread by pro-government media, Deutsche Welle said.