A group of pro-Erdoğan Turkish Islamists came together in the city of Duisburg, Germany, and protested the schools operated and inter-cultural dialogue activities which have been carried out by the Turkish people who are affiliated with the Gülen movement.
Last year’s failed coup against Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan resulted in a crackdown on scholars and universities, and has divided the nation’s diaspora. Intense polarisation of Turkish diaspora, plus online harassment, means refugee scholars feel they are being watched.
Germany has rejected a formal request from Turkey to freeze assets of members of the network of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen. The German government officially rejected the request at the end of June, telling Ankara there were no legal grounds for Germany’s financial watchdog BaFin to crack down on the Gulen movement and its supporters.
Many, though not all, of the officials are suspected of having links to the Gulen movement accused of plotting the 15 July coup attempt last year. Given the lack of evidence, it seems unlikely that the Turks would be able to provide better evidence to the Germans that these lower-level figures committed any crimes.
Ercan Karakoyun looks twice over his shoulder when he leaves his Berlin home to make sure nobody is following him. The 37-year-old, who is the public face of the Gulen movement in Germany, says he has received several death threats since the aborted overthrow.
German intelligence expert and author Erich Schmidt-Eenboom has said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, not the faith-based Gülen movement, was behind a failed coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016 based on intelligence reports from the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the German Federal Intelligence Service (BND).
In his desire to convince the world that Gülen is a criminal, Erdogan has been demanding that the U.S. extradite Gülen for months. That also likely explains why the Turkish government is currently collecting information from all over the world. It needs incriminating evidence in order to substantiate the allegations against Gülen.
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.”
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.
“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.