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

Pakistan – Of friends and us

A student at the Pak-Turk School in Lahore was perplexed at the abrupt deportation of all Turkish teachers at the request of the Turkish President Erdogan. “The Pak-Turk School changed my outlook in life. The teachers were more than simply teachers, they were mentors and helped students in all aspects of life,” this student exclaimed. “Why are they kicking out my teachers who have done so much for my country?” he wondered.

Turkey’s president is using the failed coup as an excuse to snuff out secular democracy

In the immediate aftermath of the Turkish military’s attempted coup on July 15, the international community responded with relief. While many people within Turkey and outside of it are no fans of Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s authoritarian regime, the bloodshed and chaos that would have resulted from a government overthrow seemed like the worse of two options.

Turkey’s recent view from the US

The way the AK Party has proposed new laws to increase government control over judges and prosecutors and how many investigations have slowed down have raised suspicions that the government might be trying to hide corruption. The censorship of Turkish media and the recent attempts to change laws about the Internet to easily increase censorship are raising concern.

Hakan Şükür’s resignation: Rebellion of a conscience

Take a look at his wedding photo: on one side of a table is Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen and on the other is Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. That photo reflects the feelings of millions. Şükür’s resignation is a sign that to him, that photo was torn up. If the government continues to keep up its hostile attitude against the Hizmet movement led by Gülen, millions will experience the same feeling. The real risk is here.

International panel on Virgin Mary held in Istanbul

The international panel entitled “The Virgin Mary in the Holy Bible and the Holy Qur’an” jointly organized by Journalists and Writers Foundation’s Intercultural Dialogue Platform (KADIP), Roma Tevere Instituto and Izmir Intercultural Dialogue Center took place in Istanbul. In the final declaration of the panel, it was noted that the Virgin Mary who broke many discriminative taboos of her time played a significant role throughout history in placing women in the status they deserve.

Kimse Yok Mu delivers iftar meals to homes

Turkish charity organization Kimse Yok Mu (KYM) delivers fast-breaking (iftar) meals for the needy families in their homes during the holy month of Ramadan. In the central province of Kayseri, volunteers from the KYM have been distributing iftar meal to the families in five neighborhoods which received great appreciation.

Latest News

Detained woman, newborn baby transferred to police station 240 km away from home

Father says wife, 11-month-old son under arrest despite medical problems

Police detain another woman shortly after delivery, bringing total to 16

At least 275 including elderly woman detained over Gulen links over past day

A warning from and for a troubled land – how easily a democracy can be dismantled

Mother of 6 under arrest as police fail to locate husband suspected of Gulen links

Family, friends losing hope as Calgary imam arrested in Turkey remains imprisoned

Kyrgyz President Atambayev: Sebat Turkish schools won’t be shut down

Paranoia: Turkish ‘hero’ T-shirts land dozens in jail

In Case You Missed It

Are there autonomous Hizmet groups?

Students from 70 countries celebrate graduation in Turkey

Governor asks Turkish organisation to focus on Balochistan

The story of the government media’s smear campaign against Hizmet

US lawmaker says Gülen should not be extradited, calls his movement strongest element against radical Islamists

Scapegoating: Turkish PM again blames Gülen movement for worsening economy

Prosecutors conducting ‘terror’ probe of prominent Turkish charity

Kimse Yok Mu distributes meat with foreign volunteers in Indonesia

US Congressional Record: President Erdogan’s Assault on the Human Rights of the Turkish People

Copyright 2017 Hizmet News