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

Bank Asya mandates Goldman for strategic partnership

Bank Asya said on Wednesday it has mandated Goldman Sachs as its financial advisor for a strategic partnership, without providing further details.The Islamic lender made the announcement in a filing with the İstanbul stock exchange.

In Berlin, inside a Gulen “light-house”

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.

AK Party İstanbul head: Purge in state institutions began long before

Maintaining that the reassignment of thousands of people in the police force and dozens in the judiciary since the breaking of the corruption probe, in which four former ministers of the AK Party have also been implicated, should not be considered routine reassignments, Babuşcu said

Religion as a force for peace

ŞAHİN ALPAY One of the great advantages of Turkey, surely, is the dominance of religious scholars who have promoted conceptions of Islam promoting peace, socio-economic development and democracy. In this context, contributions of Said Nursi (1878-1960), a Kurd from Bitlis, and Fethullah Gülen, a Turk from Erzurum, are surely exceptional. In Turkey hopes for an […]

Turkish daily Taraf accused of ‘spying’ and ‘terror acts’ for publishing state document

Daily Taraf, which published a document from a 2004 National Security Council (MGK) meeting about a state action plan against the activities of Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen’s movement, has been charged with “spying” and “terrorism,” in an investigation launched by the Istanbul Public Prosecutor.

Bank Asya shares surge after Turkish election results

The AK Party’s failure to secure enough votes to form the government reflects on the stock market, with the politically-seized Bank Asya’s shares observing a 10.75 percent increase at opening on Monday amidst an overall drop in Borsa Istanbul.

Latest News

Fethullah Gülen’s Condolence Message for South African Human Rights Defender Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Hizmet Movement Declares Core Values with Unified Voice

Ankara systematically tortures supporters of Gülen movement, Kurds, Turkey Tribunal rapporteurs say

Erdogan possessed by Pharaoh, Herod, Hitler spirits?

Devious Use of International Organizations to Persecute Dissidents Abroad: The Erdogan Case

A “Controlled Coup”: Erdogan’s Contribution to the Autocrats’ Playbook

Why is Turkey’s Erdogan persecuting the Gulen movement?

Purge-victim man sent back to prison over Gulen links despite stage 4 cancer diagnosis

University refuses admission to woman jailed over Gülen links

In Case You Missed It

Pakistan’s Senate body to summon officials over missing Turkish family

Top judge, paralysed after cancer surgery, under arrest at hospital

Islam: Peace or Terror | Fethullah Gulen’s Response

Fresh political raids targets leading Turkish NGO Kimse Yok Mu

Turkish organizations pour out aid during Feast of Sacrifice

Turkey may be challenged in ECtHR due to massive crackdown, CoE head warns

Turkey Regulator Demands Bank Asya Information Before Sukuks (1)

Copyright 2022 Hizmet News