(CNS): Celal Kildag (58), the man who Turkish authorities claim is wanted for murder and arson in relation to alleged terrorist acts in 1988 by the Kurdish separatist group the PKK, was remanded in custody again by the courts following his second appearance Wednesday. But since his arrest on an Interpol warrant by local police on a cruise ship last Friday, more information has emerged about the claims from the Turkish government, raising questions over the legitimacy of the accusations.
Although the act Kildag is accused of being involved with allegedly took place in 1988, the Interpol warrant was issued just over a year ago, in November 2015. Turkey has sent no information yet to the director of public prosecutions here about the alleged crimes and his part in them.
Kildag is originally from eastern Turkey but is now a German citizen, having lived in Germany for almost 34 years.
He claims that he can prove he was in Germany at the time of the alleged offences because he never returned to Turkey after he left around 1983. It is understood that the German authorities are already aware of the allegations but the government there has not extradited him.
Dressed in a polo shirt and jeans, Kildag remained silent as a German interpreter explained the proceedings to him on Wednesday when he appeared before magistrate Grace Donalds. Laurence Aiolfi, from Samson McGrath, confirmed that he was formally on record representing Kildag.
Director of Public Prosecutions Cheryl Richards said a notice had been sent to the Turkish authorities giving them 45 days from the date of Kildag’s arrest to send the required information. She also said that her office had asked the authorities in Istanbul to answer the points made by Kildag that he was not in Turkey at the time of the offence before they send the formal extradition information.
The Turkish government has an extradition agreement with the UK that does not obligate the authorities there to send supporting evidence, only basic information regarding the alleged offences.
Concerns are growing regarding the current leadership in Turkey, which has had a major clampdown in the last few months, locking up thousands of people the regime sees as its enemies following the military coup there just a few months ago.
While President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has his sights on the people he believes are connected to the exiled Fethullah Gulen, the man he claims was behind the failed and short-lived coup, the PKK is also a firm target. Considered a terrorist organisation in Turkey, the PKK is a left-wing group that has no connections to Islamic terrorism but is a Kurdish separatist movement fighting for an independent Kurdistan.
While the group was active in the 1980’s and is accused of committing terrorist acts, despite numerous searches no information has emerged of primary schools being burned or victims being shot by the PKK in eastern Turkey on the day, or even in the year, alleged on the Interpol warrant.
Calel Kildag was remanded in custody and he will remain in HMP Northward over the Christmas period until his next appearance on 29 December.