Turkey is pressuring “religious advisors” to keep an eye on President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s opponents in 38 countries, including Belgium. In Belgium, how the religious councillor at the Turkish embassy behaved could be seen as interference.
A report published by The Black Sea news website on Saturday revealed that imams from Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet) spied on people sympathetic to Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen and the movement he inspired in Romania as well.
Boris Pistorius, the Interior Minister for Lower Saxony State of Germany, has accused Turkey of carrying out “unacceptable” spying on its soil. It is accused of conducting espionage in more than 200 associations and schools linked to supporters of Fethullah Gülen. Pistorius said the move was “intolerable and unacceptable.”
Sweden’s official radio station, Radio Sweden, has documented that Turkey’s government is trying to identify and track down supporters of the opposition Gülen Movement in Sweden. In a conversation, a Swedish Gülen supporter is threatened that there would be reprisals if he did not give some concrete information on Gülenist activity in Sweden.
German authorities have informed Turks linked with the Gülen movement about Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MİT) surveillance in Germany. German experts concluded that most of the photos of 300 Turks and 200 schools, associations and organizations that are connected to the Gülen movement were taken secretly by surveillance cameras.
Country after country, world’s leading intelligence agencies say they’ve seen no evidence supporting Ankara’s narrative. Heads or members of intelligence services of two countries, Germany and the U.S., both allies of Turkey, came out and said Ankara has yet to convince them about its narrative that links Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen to July 15 coup attempt.
Norwegian Islamist religious organizations that are affiliated with the Turkish government and its Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet) are reportedly involved in unlawful profiling activities of unsuspecting people of Turkish origin across Norway.
“The espionage agents around the Turkish religious authorities go beyond Germany,” the article read adding that “not only were the names of persons transmitted” but also activities by the Gülen movement-affiliated schools, day-care centers, cultural and student associations reported to Turkey.
The Turkish consulate in Rotterdam confiscated the Turkish passports of a number of Dutch-Turkish people believed to be affiliated with the Gulen movement. The people involved were told that they are now classified as a fugitive and were given a one-day passport to fly to Turkey and prove their innocence in front of a judge.
The Federal Prosecutors Office (GBA) said in a statement no arrests were made in the raids in the states of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) and Rhineland-Pfalz, which aimed to collect evidence into imams conducting alleged espionage against supporters of the US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen.