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.
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).
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.
German lawmakers have called for an investigation of Turkish intelligence operations in their country, specifically charging that Turkey is spying on suspected followers of exiled cleric and accused coup mastermind Fethullah Gulen.
According to German media, the spies write reports on the alleged Gulen supporters and the secretive information is collected from imams of the Turkish-Islamic Union of the Institute for Religion (Ditib). The names of the so-called spies are then reported to the relevant [Turkish] state bodies and consulates.
Bekir Cinar was working as an assistant professor at the political sciences department of Suleyman Sah University when it fell victim to the crackdown. He says that many academics with different views were working at the university. Cinar is currently continuing his scientific work at a British university. He considers this a major loss for Turkey, not least because it takes 20 to 30 years to become an academic.