U.S.-Germany Dispute Deepens Tensions

Tensions in frail relations between Germany and the United States are becoming more strained with Berlin deporting a terrorist to Turkey instead of to the U.S.

Namely, after serving his 11-year prison sentence German-Turkish citizen Adem Yilmaz was extradited to Turkey, which caused aggravation among U.S. officials, who called in German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and Emily Haber, the German ambassador to the U.S., to air American concerns about the decision.

U.S. officials said they were surprised by the move and expressed frustration about Yilmaz’s deportation as it violates the extradition treaty between Berlin and Washington. They also worry it could affect U.S. chances of extraditing two Iranians currently held in German jails.

CNN reports that German diplomats cite extended delays on the U.S. side and the failure by Washington to provide the assurances needed to comply with German legal restrictions as the reasons for Yilmaz’s transfer to Turkey.

“We did exchange views,” one German official said, referring to the meeting between Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan, Maas and Haber. “We explained that the Federal Government cannot influence a court decision. In the end, a security decision had to be made. Most likely, the court would have freed the person yesterday due to the fact that the U.S. has not provided the documents the court had asked for about nine months ago.”

Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker also expressed disappointment in Germany’s decision to extradite Yilmaz, who was complicit “in the murder of two American servicemen,” to Turkey. He further claimed that German officials ignored the U.S. “pending request to seek judicial reconsideration or review of a German court’s recent decision to change the terms of our extradition treaty with Germany.”

German officials were quick to respond to the U.S. charges, saying they likewise didn’t like the outcome “but it’s up to the court to decide.”

“It’s very unfortunate. It’s not the choice we would have made, but we have to follow the rule of law,” added another official.

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