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Germany

Suspected regional Kurdish separatist leader arrested in southwest Germany

A Turkish man has been arrested in the southwest German city of Karlsruhe on suspicion of being a regional leader of the banned Kurdish separatist group PKK.

German federal prosecutors said on Thursday that a Turkish man has been arrested in Karlsruhe, southwest Germany, on suspicion of being a regional leader of the banned Kurdish separatist group, Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

The PKK, a political and military organization, fought against the Turkish state for political and cultural rights, as well as self determination for Kurds in Turkey for almost 30 years, in which time tens of thousands of people were killed. In the US and European Union, the PKK continues to be regarded as a terrorist organization.

German ban questioned

Mehmet D., whose surname cannot be released due to German privacy laws, was arrested last Friday on charges of membership in a foreign terrorist organization.

The 45-year-old, who has been remanded in custody, is accused of leading PKK operations in central Germany since January 2013 under the pseudonym Kahraman and in northern German since late last year.

German prosecutors said as well as organizing propaganda, Mehmet D.'s responsibilities also included overseeing fundraising and business activities.

On Sunday evening the German government decided to supply Iraqi Kurds with weapons from existing German army stocks. Angela Merkel's latest military move to help Kurdish Iraqis in their fight against the "Islamic State" (IS) group has brought into question whether the PKK ban in Germany should be lifted.

ksb/slk (AP/dpa)

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