The Munich Higher Regional Court (OLG) has sentenced ten Turkish communists for membership in a party that Ankara has classified as a “terrorist group”. After four years of trial, the judges announced on Tuesday that the main accused Müslüm E. would receive six and a half years in prison for being a ringleader in a terrorist organization abroad, and the remaining nine defendants – including doctors and educators – for membership in a terrorist association abroad between just under three and five years in prison.

According to the court, the accused have recruited new members for the Turkish Communist Party / Marxist-Leninists (TKP / ML) in Germany, distributed documents and raised money. The Maoist small party TKP / ML is not prohibited in Germany. The lawyers are considering whether to appeal.

In France and the Benelux countries, CPM / ML supporters should be able to operate largely undisturbed, according to judicial circles. In Germany, this is different because of the close ties to the government in Ankara.

In Turkey, the militant CPM / ML is fighting for a revolution. The process had been accompanied by protests, the defenders of the accused spoke of a political process in the service of the Turkish head of state Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The defense lawyers should not have given the Federal Ministry of Justice the right to prosecute for such proceedings, the defense lawyers said, meaning that the proceedings had to be stopped. The Turkish state is not a protected good in the sense of German criminal law paragraph 129b, which makes membership in a foreign terrorist organization a criminal offense.

Germany is working harder against the PKK

Similar arguments are used again and again in lawsuits regarding alleged proximity to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Belgian judges recently stated that the PKK was in an armed conflict with the Turkish army – Kurdish activists for the party should therefore not be persecuted as “terrorists”. In Germany, the judiciary is tough, slogans, donations and events for the PKK are punished.

German judiciary as Erdogan’s henchman?

The defenders in Munich had particularly criticized the obvious cooperation with government agencies in Turkey. In 2017, for example, it became known that Turkish intelligence officers were also watching the TKP / ML scene in Germany. In the letter discussed in court, the “result of compiling intelligence information” about the scene of the accused is that “there are approximately 700 to 800 cadres in Germany and this number increases at the events organized to 2000” . This means German-Turks who are in the environment of the communist cadre TKM / ML.

In its judgment, the OLG Munich remained just under the demand of the federal prosecutor responsible for state security offenses of six years and nine months. German prosecutors had recently spoken of a “repressive policy” in Turkey.

In a PKK trial in Berlin in February, the public prosecutor said that the Kurdish Socialist Party had “proved to be vital for its female members in Turkey”. Without the powerful cadre party, Kurds would have fared badly in patriarchal society.