Istanbul – The Turkish Supreme Court of Appeals annulled the life sentence of Metin Kaplan, also known in Europe as the Caliph of Cologne. His plans to overthrow the Turkish secular state and install an Islamic state, are, according to the court, not serious enough grounds for a life sentence. This is as reported in Turkish media this weekend.
It’s not yet clear whether there will be a new trial. Turkish media say that he won’t be set free for at least five or six years. He was also convicted for other crimes.
Kaplan (57) led the Islamic organisation “Caliphate State” and was based in the German city of Cologne, but was extradited to Turkey in 2004. Here he was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2005. He wanted to overthrow the Turkish state with, for example, an attack by an airplane on the mausoleum of Atatürk, Turkey’s founding father and founder of Turkish secularism. According to the court such crimes can only warrant life imprisonment if actually carried out. Kaplan doesn’t deny he wants to turn Turkey into an Islamic state, but says he wants to achieve that goal without violence.
The court added that Kaplan can only be convicted for founding and administering an armed organisation, which is punishable by a maximum sentence of fifteen years. In Turkey Kaplan is, next to Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan, considered one of the most important enemies of the state. In Germany, where he arrived in the early nineteen eighties with his father and initially enjoyed political asylum, he served four years in prison for soliciting murder.