March 28, 2018 / 10:01 AM / 9 months ago

Turkey arrests German national trying to cross into Syria: Anadolu

ANKARA (Reuters) - A German national who was trying to cross into Syria from Turkey has been arrested by Turkish authorities over alleged links to Kurdish militants, the state-run Anadolu news agency said.

In a report citing security officials on Tuesday, Anadolu said Patrick Kraicker, 28, was detained on March 14 in the Silopi district of the southeastern province of Sirnak.

During his questioning, Kraicker said he wanted to cross into Syria to join the Syrian Kurdish PYD, according to Anadolu.

Ankara considers the PYD, and its YPG armed group, to be extensions of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) which has waged a three-decade insurgency in Turkey’s largely Kurdish southeast.

Anadolu said Kraicker was later arrested for “aiding and abetting a terrorist organization”.

Turkey last month released German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yucel, removing a key irritant in ties between the two allies, but German officials remain deeply concerned about Turkey’s deteriorating record on human rights and freedoms and its military operations in northern Syria.

Turkish forces and their rebel allies launched an offensive against the YPG in northern Syria’s Afrin region in January and took over the town of Afrin 10 days ago.

Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu; Editing by Ece Toksabay

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