Turkish extremist requests asylum in the Netherlands

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A man believed to be a leader of the Turkish Hezbollah has requested asylum in the Netherlands, according to Dutch daily . The movement is responsible for a large number of terrorist attacks in Turkey the 1990s.

A special unit of the Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Department IND and the Dutch embassy in Ankara is investigating whether Abdulvahap Ekinci was involved in serious crimes.

The Turkish Hezbollah is not connected to the Lebanese Hezbollah. The movement fought for an Islamic state in Southeast Turkey in the 1980s and 1990s. The ‘Party of God’ is responsible for killing prominent intellectuals, government officials and activists of the rival Kurdish separatist movement the PKK. The movement did not shy away from using torture and other cruel methods to get rid of its opponents.

The asylum seeker’s lawyer says that his client was sentenced to a long prison sentence at the beginning of the year in Turkey. "However, it takes a while for the arrest warrant to reach the border controls. My client used that time to fly to the Netherlands."

According to the English-language version of Turkish daily , Mr Ekinci spent ten years in prison awaiting trial. He was released in January following new laws limiting the amount of time prisoners can spend on remand. A warrant for his rearrest was issued almost immediately for using weapons in the name of an illegal organisation, rather than for being a member of Hezbollah. But Turkish police were unable to trace him.

The man ran a bookshop in the eastern Turkish city of Diyarbakir, where Hezbollah regularly held meetings.

The IND investigation into his involvement in the movement will determine whether he is eligible for asylum in the Netherlands.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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