Austrian politician documents Turkish surveillance abroad [on Gulen movement]

Greens Parliamentarian Peter Pilz. Foto: Clemens Fabry
Greens Parliamentarian Peter Pilz. Foto: Clemens Fabry


Date posted: February 14, 2017

Associated Press

Turkish diplomatic offices around the world are gathering information in a bid to undermine organizations loyal to a Muslim cleric who Turkey believes was behind last year’s coup attempt, an Austrian lawmaker said Tuesday.

Greens Parliamentarian Peter Pilz showed The Associated Press memos from the Turkish Embassy in Vienna and the Turkish Consulate in Salzburg. They show ATIB, the union of Turkish-Islamic cultural organizations in Austria, sending reports on organizations backed by U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen to diplomats, with the information then forwarded to Ankara.

Pilz said his team is working on publishing similar documents from 30 other countries in Europe, Africa and Asia. He spoke of a “global spying network,” with the religious attaches of the various embassies “very often the main Erdogan agents,” in reference to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Turkey is pressing nations to crack down on the Gulen movement‘s network of schools and charities outside of the country. It accuses Gulen of orchestrating the July 15 coup that saw renegade military officers and soldiers use fighter jets, helicopters and tanks to attack parliament and other state buildings. Some 270 people were killed.

Gulen condemned the coup attempt and denied he was involved, though he acknowledged that some of his supporters may have participated.


Turkish diplomatic offices around the world are gathering information in a bid to undermine organizations loyal to a Muslim cleric. Turkey is pressing nations to crack down on the Gulen movement’s network of schools and charities outside of the country.


In an interview Monday with the Austrian daily Kurier, Fatih Karadas, an official at the Turkish embassy in Vienna who also leads ATIB, denied the activities constituted spying. He said it was “our religious duty to conduct investigations into whether in Austria … Turkish-origin citizens were influenced and misused or radicalized by Gulen.”

Both published documents are addressed to the Turkish government’s foreign department of the Office for Religious Affairs, Diyanet. One, an undated cover letter written on the letterhead of the Turkish Embassy and signed by Karadas, says “all possible … activities” of Gulen organizations were investigated. It says these include “companies, educational organizations … NGOs, aid organizations, (and) networks.”

The other, from the consulate, outlines the main organizations run by Gulen sympathizers and speaks of a warning issued in 2014 to ATIB functionaries against “open and sometimes covert attempts” by Gulen backers to “infiltrate the ATIB clubs.” It speaks of ATIB and other religious officials “destroying all books, audio materials, video CDs, volumes of poetry, brochures (and) newspapers” issued by Gulen-affiliated organizations.

Pilz also published a Diyanet directive asking for “detailed reports over all organizations/structures, activities, educational institutions, non-governmental organizations, aid organizations, human resources, clubs carrying out cultural activities etc. of the Fetuhullaic terror organizations in countries and territories where they are active.”

Officials from Austria’s Interior Ministry confirmed the government was treating the documents — published in the Turkish original and German translations — as genuine, but were cautious in their reaction. Spokesman Karl-Heinz Grundboeck said Austrian anti-spying laws were applicable only in case of espionage against state institutions, and not individuals.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Thomas Schnoell said Karadas’ accreditation was close to expiration and new candidates would be carefully vetted.

In Germany, also named by Pilz, an official of Germany’s domestic intelligence agency said last week that 13 imams affiliated with DITIB — ATIB’s German counterpart — had sent the names of alleged supporters of Gulen to the Turkish religion authority.

Burkhard Freier said Diyanet had told employees in September to report the activities of groups such as the Gulen movement, and religious attaches at consulates had passed the order on to imams. His agency did not, however, have evidence that DITIB itself was directly involved.

The matter also came up when German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Ankara last month. She said then that the two nations must discuss any perceived problems with the Gulen movement “with each other.”

___

Associated Press writers Geir Moulson in Berlin and Christopher Torchia in Johannesburg contributed.

Source: FoxNews , February 14, 2017


Related News

Gulen-linked org’s statement on Turkish Govt’s arrest of pro-Kurdish Parliamentarians

AfSV Statement on Turkish Government’s Arrest of HDP Parliamentarians  Erdogan’s Persecutions Underscore Authoritarian Slide New York (November 9, 2016) – The Alliance for Shared Values is deeply concerned about the arrests of nine members of Turkish Parliament from the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP), including the party’s co-chairs Mr. Selahattin Demirtas and Ms. Figen Yuksekdag. […]

İstanbul woman suffers miscarriage in police custody

Büşra Atalay, a Turkish woman who has previously been dismissed from her job over alleged Gülen links, lost her unborn child when she was detained and interrogated at an İstanbul hospital on Thursday.

‘Hizmet is the attempt to celebrate all of humanity’

Hizmet Movement is unique because it doesn’t try to carry out what we call cultural and religious particularism. That would be the idea that your group is the best, that you have the only form of truth, that all other groups are impure, incorrect and that they are not worthy of time, or that they’re not worthy of learning something from them. Hizmet, in fact, says the opposite. Members reach out to learn from other peoples, they actively invite people from different cultural backgrounds, people from different religious backgrounds to come and teach them, to teach them things.

Fethullah Gulen: I Condemn All Threats to Turkey’s Democracy

I have been advocating for democracy for decades. Having suffered through four military coups in four decades in Turkey — and having been subjected by those military regimes to harassment and wrongful imprisonment — I would never want my fellow citizens to endure such an ordeal again. If somebody who appears to be a Hizmet sympathizer has been involved in an attempted coup, he betrays my ideals.

PM Erdoğan confesses to creating ‘super judges’ for anti-Hizmet plot

The PM Erdogan has been harshly criticized for his remarks by observers and legal experts, who agree the remarks have come as a clear indication that the prime minister is directly involved in a planned legal action against a civil society group — the Hizmet movement. According to the prime minister’s plans against Hizmet, it is already clear which court and judges will handle the legal case against the movement.

Watson: My expressions were twisted by Sabah Daily

British Member of the European Parliament (MEP) and leader of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party Watson said he was disappointed by an interview published in the Sabah daily as the meanings of his expressions were misconstrued.

Latest News

Turkish dinner in Erie brings together flavors, cultures

Pro-Erdogan columnist calls California ice-cream seller, “Dogs of Jews, terrorists!”

Mueller Probes Flynn’s Role in Alleged Plan to Deliver Gulen to Turkey

Anonymous witnesses fail to identify suspects they earlier tipped off as Gulenist

Kaçmaz family deportation case: Lahore High Court seeks record of Civil Aviation Authority

Turkish Government Imprisons One More Mother With Her Baby Over Links To Gülen Movement

Dozens take to Parliament Hill to protest Turkish human rights violations

Visually impaired journalist’s letter shows he can barely survive in prison

Journalist Karaca sentenced to 31 years for slandering al-Qaeda-affiliated group

In Case You Missed It

Sarıgül’s first election promise: to protect İstanbul’s historic skyline

Thai students participating in Turkish Olympiads paid a visit to Thai Ambassador in Ankara

Recruiting based on ‘color lists’ breach of Constitution

The confidence crisis and remaining wounds

Turkish Alevites, Sunnis show solidarity during Eid al-Adha

AK Party gov’t treats critical letters, columns as ‘treachery’

Graduation ceremony of the Turkish school in Senegal

Turkish school shelters mountaineer in Nepal

Al-Zuhayli says Gülen’s ideas hope of humanity

Copyright 2017 Hizmet News