Kurdish-Turkish clashes could escalate in Germany: intelligence chief

President of Germany's Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution Maaßen Hans-Georg.

The President of Germany’s Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Maaßen Hans-Georg, has said clashes between Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) supporters and nationalist Turks in the country could escalate and that both sides had the “potential for effective strikes.”

According to Deutsche Welle, Maaßen, speaking at an event in Berlin, said, “We are seeing that the political wrangling in Turkey is having an effect on Germany’s security,” adding, “the fault lines between the different fronts is reflecting here”.

Radical Islamism

The intelligence chief also commented on the rise of radical Islamism in the country and said there were, “more than 1,600 Islamists who have the potential to engage in violent acts and this number is constantly rising”.

In a recent meeting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and German Chancellor Angela Merkel disagreed over the use of the term ‘Islamist terror’.

“Islam means peace. Bringing together the terms ‘Islam’ and ‘terror’ will only upset Muslims around the world. I would like to ask that this term not be used to describe the jihadist terror of Islamic State,” Erdogan said.

Merkel retorted that ‘Islam’ and ‘Islamism’ were not the same thing and that the German nation had stood against all kinds of terror.

German-Turkish fallout

The two nations have also fallen out over Ankara’s employment of Turkish spies in Germany and a plot to assassinate Kurdish political figures, as well as the use of religious clerics to inform on suspected members of the Gulen Movement.

There is thought to be between 650,000-850,000 Kurds residing in Germany, while the figure for Turks is at least 3 million.