Swiss investigate spying on Turkish community


Date posted: March 25, 2017

ZURICH (Reuters) – Switzerland has launched a criminal investigation into possible foreign spying on the country’s Turkish community, federal prosecutors said on Friday.

The Swiss foreign minister told his Turkish counterpart on Thursday that Switzerland would “rigorously investigate” any illegal spying by Ankara on expatriate Turks before an April 16 referendum that could expand Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s powers.

“The Office of the Attorney General has been made aware of concrete suspicion that political espionage has likely been conducted involving the Turkish community in Switzerland,” the office said on Friday, giving no other details about the probe that began on March 16.

For weeks, neutral Switzerland has been trying to avoid becoming entangled in a bitter dispute between Ankara and other European nations over campaigning by Turkish politicians to drum up support for Erdogan among Turks living abroad.

Turkey’s president has accused Germany and the Netherlands of behaving like Nazis for halting rallies by Turkish ministers, comments that both countries have called unacceptable.

The Swiss investigation follows alleged political intelligence gathering in which participants at events at the University of Zurich in late 2016 and early 2017 were filmed or photographed.

One instance was in December, where Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet’s chief editor was honored, Swiss media have reported. The second incident was in January during an academic forum on the massacre of Armenians in Turkey 100 years ago that Armenians consider genocide, a term Ankara rejects.

The university in Switzerland’s financial capital did not immediately return phone calls and emails seeking comment.

The prosecutors’ statement cited a Swiss law that forbids intelligence gathering in the interest of a foreign state that harms Switzerland or its people. Punishments include up to three years in prison or fines.

Allegations of intelligence gathering by Erdogan supporters have arisen elsewhere in Europe.

Last month, German police raided the apartments of four imams suspected of spying for Turkey’s government on followers of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, accused by Ankara of organizing a failed coup last July.

The head of Turkey’s Diyanet religious authority, Mehmet Gormez, denied its imams had been involved in illegal activities and said espionage investigations had defamed the organization.

Swiss government statistics show 68,000 Turkish citizens live in Switzerland. The Turkish embassy’s website refers to 130,000 Turkish citizens.


Reporting by John Miller and John Revill,; Editing by Michael Shields and Ed Osmond

Source: Reuters , March 24, 2017


Related News

The tragic end of the witch hunt

Several claims and accusations have been voiced, and the Hizmet movement has been described as a gang and a “parallel structure,” Are these accusations based on concrete evidence? No. Fabricated news published by pro-government media outlets, unfounded accusations and slanderous claims that are legally null and void have been refuted one by one. However, the pro-government media does not care about this, since they do not care in the least about rights or the rule of law.

Kaçmaz family deportation case: Lahore High Court seeks record of Civil Aviation Authority

The Lahore High Court (LHC) sought record of Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) of planes arrived and departed for Turkey from Allama Iqbal International Airport on 13-14 October, on Tuesday. The record is sought to investigate the forced deportation of Kacmaz family, despite them being under UN protection.

Turkey pays a price for purging counterterror professionals

In the wake of the abortive July 15 coup, he purged thousands of experienced counter-terror police and rotated others out of areas they know best. In effect, this means the Turkish security and police are operating blind. It can take years to gain the experience in any particular locality that those whom Erdogan fired had.

Kyrgyz court overturns extradition of suspected Gülenists to Turkey

A Kyrgyzstan court on Tuesday overturned a decision by the country’s Prosecutor General’s Office to extradite two people to Turkey to face charges of membership of the banned Gülen movement, The Diplomat reported.

President emphasizes importance of domestic peace for development

President Abdullah Gül has underlined the importance of domestic peace for Turkey to keep up its development, noting that the country should not waste its energy by focusing on “unnecessary rumors,” an almost open reference to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s defamation campaign targeting the Hizmet movement, a volunteer-based grassroots movement inspired by Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen.

Turkey’s Ongoing Crackdown: nearly 13,000 police officers suspended for alleged links to the Gulen movement

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has suspended nearly 13,000 police officers over suspected links to Fethullah Gulen, the U.S.-based cleric Turkey says is responsible for the July 15 coup attempt. Erdogan’s critics believe he has used the coup as an opportunity to crack down on his political opposition. Erdogan was often accused of trying to silence critics.

Latest News

This notable Pocono resident has been living here in exile since 1999

Logistics companies seized over Gülen links sold in fast-track auction

That is Why the Turkish Government could Pay 1 Billion Euros

ECtHR rules Bulgaria violated rights of Turkish journalist who was deported despite seeking asylum

Fethullah Gülen’s Message of Condolences in the Wake of the Western European Floods

Pregnant woman kept in prison for 4 months over Gülen links despite regulations

Normalization of Abduction, Torture, and Death in Erdogan’s Turkey

Turkey’s Maarif Foundation illegally seized German-run school in Ethiopia, says manager

Failed 2016 coup was gov’t plot to purge Gülenists from state bodies, journalist claims

In Case You Missed It

Turkey introduces new decree law to seize all Gulen-related companies

Davis: Moderate voices such as Gülen movement are sorely needed

Chestnut Retreat Center offers a look inside their Saylorsburg facility and its mission

Some states use religion for wars, says Catholic Bishop in İstanbul

Scholars at Abant Meeting call for EU negotiations, domestic reform

Turkey just snatched six of its citizens from another country

Turkish court jails 17 housewives over alleged coup involvement

Copyright 2021 Hizmet News