The German government has accused Turkey of being a hub for Islamist groups that allows them to further their aims across the Middle East, according to a leaked confidential document.
The document, reported by German public broadcaster ARD and obtained by the Associated Press, was in a classified Interior Ministry response to a confidential question from leftist opposition party Die Linke in Germany’s Bundestag, or parliament, on August 10.
It alleges that the government of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan supports Palestinian militant group Hamas, Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and “groups in the armed Islamist opposition in Syria,” all of which follow Sunni Islam, the same strand as the majority of Muslim Turks.
In its response, the ministry says that the Turkish government’s “numerous statements of solidarity and supportive actions” for these three groups “underline their ideological affinity with the Muslim Brothers.”
It continued to say 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.”
The European Union and the U.S. designates Hamas, which oversees the Gaza Strip, as an extremist group. The group has fought three wars with Israel since 2008.
The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt had the country’s first-ever democratically-elected leader, Mohamed Morsi, in 2011 before the military overthrew him in 2013. Egypt and Saudi Arabia classify the Muslim Brotherhood as an extremist organization.
Turkey continues to deny that it delivers arms to Syrian rebel groups but the Turkish press has alleged that the military is doing so. Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet reported in May 2015 footage, shot in January 2014, of Turkish intelligence attempting to transfer arms across the Turkish border into northern Syria.
This is the first time that the German government has linked Germany to such groups, as it has never commented publicly about Turkey’s links to such groups. Relations between Berlin and Ankara are still fraught after the Bundestag voted to call an Ottoman Turk mass killing of Armenians as a genocide in June.
The German government said that it would not comment on content that is classified.