Germany ministry calls Turkey key Islamist 'platform'

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BERLIN (AP) — The German government said in a confidential document obtained by The Associated Press on Tuesday that Turkey has become "the central platform of action for Islamist groups" in the Middle East.

The statement, first reported by ARD public television, was contained in a classified section of a reply from the Interior Ministry to questions from an opposition party.

In it, the ministry said "numerous statements of solidarity and supportive actions" for Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and "groups in the armed Islamist opposition in Syria" by Turkey's governing party and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan "underline their ideological affinity with the Muslim Brothers."

The Aug. 10 document added that "as a result of Ankara's domestic and foreign policy that has been Islamized step-by-step above all since 2011, Turkey has developed into the central platform of action for Islamist groups in the Middle East region."

Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, is shunned as a terrorist group by the European Union and the U.S.

The Interior Ministry issued a statement saying the document is "classified as confidential, therefore we cannot comment publicly on the content."

It added that because of a "clerical error," the Foreign Ministry wasn't involved in the final draft of the answer to The Left Party, which had asked whether "the Muslim Brothers gained influence" after the governing party under Erdogan, who was previously prime minister, took office.

The Turkish government said it had no immediate comment on the document.

Relations between Germany and Turkey have been frayed since the German parliament voted June 2 to label the killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks a century ago as genocide.

The Turkish government also has bristled at criticism of the scope of its crackdown following the aborted July 15 coup and has complained of a lack of support from the West.


David Rising contributed to this story.

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