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.
Turkish consulates in Germany have been organizing events for Turkish parents and asking them to spy on critics of the President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Turkey at German schools, according to an education trade union, GEW (Gewerkschaft Erziehung und Wissenschaft).
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.
The Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) head İlhan Yerlikaya has sent a letter to his Albanian counterpart to restrict a documentary titled “Love is a Verb,” saying that the film was broadcasted to make propaganda on behalf of the Gülen movement.
According to data from the German Federal Ministry of the Interior, there has been a rapid rise in the number of Turkish people seeking asylum in Germany since a failed coup attempt on July 15. Germany received asylum applications from a total of 5,166 Turkish citizens during the January-November period of 2016, according to a story in Deutsche Welle on Sunday.
In recent years, the movement has received more scrutiny, not least after its long-time alley, Turkish President Erdogan, publicly split with the group, accusing it of infiltrating state institutions and even outright “terrorism”. Germany’s intelligence services disagree: In 2014, they published an assessment outlining that while some elements within the movement gave room for concern, they didn’t warrant an observation of the movement.