Berlin / Dusseldorf (dpa) – With a transnational raid the police against the Turkish rocker group “Ottoman Germania” proceeded. More than 1,000 police officers were deployed in three federal states: in North Rhine-Westphalia, Baden-Württemberg and Hesse. They searched nearly 60 objects and provided evidence and isolated weapons and narcotics safe, as the Federal Interior Ministry announced. Behind the action is the federal government. According to the Federal Ministry of the Interior, there is an urgent suspicion that the club, which officially operates as a boxing club, could unlawfully engage in illegal activities in Germany. The “Ottomans” currently have 22 local groups throughout the federal state with a total of about 300 members.
The club, which was founded in 2015 in Hesse, was at times regarded as the fastest growing rocker-like group in Germany. “The Federal Government and the Länder show with today’s measures that we do not tolerate criminal activities, regardless of their social background,” said the Minister of the Interior, Thomas de Maizière (CDU). The association claims to want to “get off the street”. In fact, the club is caught up in violent territorial and power struggles. In the past there had been several times to serious personal injury and attempted homicides. The searches should serve the clarification of club structures and activities. To the enforcement of a club ban, it is not. The focus of the raid was in North Rhine-Westphalia, where the group, according to recent figures, has the majority of its members. There, 800 police officers searched more than 40 apartments and business premises in 20 cities. Numerous cowls, data carriers, documents as well as weapons and drugs were secured. There were inter alia in Duisburg, Essen, Cologne, Recklinghausen and Wuppertal. “We are watching the scene very closely and we are not blinded by these organizations,” said NRW Interior Minister Herbert Reul (CDU).
In Baden-Württemberg eight objects were searched by more than 100 police officers. “We encounter all criminal rockers and rocker-like groups with a zero-tolerance strategy,” emphasized Minister of the Interior Thomas Strobl (CDU). In Hesse ten objects were searched by 120 officials. In North Rhine-Westphalia, a fatal incident occurred a month ago when it was used against the group. The 43-year-old former “President” of the “Ottoman Germania” in Wuppertal had been shot dead by a SEK official. Against the policeman is determined. As of March 26, eight presumptive “Ottomans” – including three from the world’s highest levels of management – are to be tried in court in Stuttgart. They are accused of attempted murder, attempted manslaughter, predatory extortion, dangerous bodily harm, forced prostitution and pimping.
According to the North Rhine-Westphalian Ministry of the Interior, the rocker group has connections with the Turkish governing party AKP and with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The group represents Turkish nationalist and right-wing extremist positions. NRW Minister of the Interior Reul had reported to the Dusseldorf state parliament that the activities of the Ottomans were directed against the PKK, left-wing extremist Turks and the Gülen movement – and would be supported by Turkish authorities as “fighting terrorism”. Occupied are contacts of Ottoman leaders to advisers of President Erdogan.