Turkey refused Germany’s request for the extradition of ultra-right activist and conspiracy theorist Atilla Hildmann, Deutsche Welle Turkish reported on Friday.
A spokesperson for the Berlin public prosecutor office told German news agency DPA on Thursday that the Turkish embassy informed Germany that Hildmann would not be extradited as he has Turkish citizenship.
Despite Turkey’s claim, German authorities argue Hildmann does not hold Turkish citizenship and is only a German national.
Atilla Hildmann, who was born in Berlin to a Turkish family, defines himself as an ultra-right activist and a conspiracy preacher. He is being investigated by German authorities for provocation and encouraging the public to commit crimes.
Hildmann first gained prominence a decade ago as an author of popular vegan cookbooks and by 2015, started using his YouTube platform to spread eco-fascist, anti-refugee rhetoric, as well as Holocaust denial, antisemitic hate speech, and conspiracy theories.
During the coronavirus pandemic, he led the Querdenker movement, accusing the German government of working for tech billionaire Bill Gates. Hildmann, who was banned from social media platforms as a result, amassed hundreds of thousand followers on his Telegram channel, which was blocked in 2021.
The German police, who had a search warrant for Hildmann, found out in February 2021 that the activist had already fled the country.
The German magazine Stern later reported that Hildmann had escaped to Turkey in late 2020, citing the work of a group of amateur detectives calling themselves “Hildbusters”.