In the beginning of January 2017 the Danish Security Service PET had received information that Turkey planned politically motivated murders in Denmark.
The suspected targets were members of the Gulen-movement living in Denmark. The Turkish government holds the Gulen-movement responsible for the failed coup attempt in June 2016 in Turkey.
The PET took the information very seriously and put the targets in safe houses.
The gang Osmanen Germania is said to have played a role in this plot. It was believed that they at one point was given the order to execute the killings.
No one got killed in the end. According to our information it was made clear to those suspected to be part of the murder-plot that the authorities had found out what they were planning to do.
So who are Osmanen Germania?
Osmanen Germania was formed in Germany and had grown fast in the recent years. It retains close ties to the ruling party in Turkey AKP, and the National Intelligence Service MIT. In mid-2016 they established a chapter in Denmark. We have not been able to confirm if it was German or Danish members of the gang who were supposed to be involved in the plot.
The majority of members of Osmanen Germania are of Turkish origin. Several, including one of the founders, also have a background from criminal motorcycle clubs. And like traditional biker gangs, such as the Hells Angels or Bandidos, they also carry vests and have a strong hierarchical organization. In interviews, leading members of Osmanen refute this. They call themselves a “boxing club” However, in rap videos published on YouTube, they portrait themselves as villains and act out many criminal clichés.
According to German prosecutors it is not only acting.
A trial is currently taking place in Stuttgart, against eight of the leading members. The charges include: attempted murder, assault, procuring, blackmail, illegal restraint and narcotics related crimes.
In the recent years there have been many journalistic investigations into the gang’s close relation to the Turkish ruling elite. They have been described as Erdogan’s international army.
In December 2017 the German TV-channel ZDF’s program Frontal 21, along with the newspaper Stuttgarter Nachrichten, revealed that the group received big donations from politician Metin Külünk, who holds a senior position in the Turkish ruling party AKP and holds a seat in the Turkish parliament.
Külünk is described as a close friend of President Erdogan and is the partys deputy spokesperson for foreign affairs.
The money Külünk reportedly handed over to members of Osmanen (in a cosmetics studio in Berlin) was, according to the report, used for the purchase of weapons.
Telephone interceptions leaked from the German security services, indicated, according to Stuttgarter Nachrichten and ZDF, that Külünk also gave the criminal gang orders to punish people critical of the Turkish government. TV-satirist Jan Böhmermann had to be taken to a safe house. There were also recorded conversations where Külünk was said to have ordered assaults on political Kurds, and he urged the Osmanen members to film the beatings. The films was later supposed to be used in Turkey "as a deterrent” to people opposed to the government.
Media reports also show close links to AKP's international lobby organization UETD. Among other things, UETD and Osmanen Germania have participated in the same conference in the Turkish summer resort of Antalya.
“In retrospect, we are deeply surprised and shocked by what [an] extensive network we have been able to map and I am convinced that this network aims to fundamentally destroy the democratic and rule-of-law order that we are upholding," said Franz Feyder, reporter on the newspaper Stuttgart Nachrichten.
But although the newspaper and the TV-channel have published convincing reports about how Osmanen Germania has been ordered by Turkish politicians to execute many political crimes, no one has yet been charged for that.
According to Franz Feyder, at Stuttgarter Nachrichten, there doesn’t seem to be any political will in Germany to prosecute anyone for these crimes.
“All the material that we have access to has been evaluated by experienced lawyers. They have confirmed that it is enough to prosecute on political grounds. Why that does not happen is a mystery. We do not know why”, says Franz Feyder.
He says that the government has been very quiet about the matter, the issue has not even been raised by the German government in the bilateral talks with Turkey, says Franz Feyder, quoting one of the government's main critics in this matter, MEP Cem Özdemir:
“Any further measures to investigate the political dimension of crime can harm the refugee deal that Germany and the EU have made with Turkey - and therefore they refrain from addressing the question in public.”
Osmanen Germania leader, Mehmet Bağcı and other members of Osmanen have been photographed together with Metin Külünk. There is also a photograph of Mehmet Bağcı side by side to President Erdogans top political advisor Ilnur Cevik. Cevik is wearing a T-shirt with Osmanen Germanias symbols on it.
Sveriges Radio has worked together with Danmarks Radio on some parts of this investigation.
We have asked Metin Külünk for an interview, but he has not replied. We have also let him know what we are about to publish.
We have asked the PET, the Danish minister of Justice, and the Danish minister of foreign affairs, for interviews. The have all said they do not wish to comment after hearing about what we are about to publish.
We have also asked the Turkish embassy for an interview. They have not replied.
Disclaimer: This article is based on extensive research , talks with many sources at different levels in society and in several countries. Most have chosen to be anonymous. But we know who they are and have been able to confirm their identity. However, we will not specify in detail what data came from which source because it could lead to the sources being identified. The work on this report started one and a half years ago when we first heard the rumors of an ordered assassination in Denmark for the first time. But it is only now that we have been able to confirm all relevant details and have decided to publish it.