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.
Turkey’s relentless pursuit of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen’s supporters during the past four months – both at home and abroad – has now resulted in Turkish military personnel serving at NATO bases seeking asylum, fearing persecution if they return home.
“Germany is an outward-looking country and is open to all those who are politically persecuted as a matter of principle,” Roth said. “They can apply for asylum in Germany. That applies not just to journalists.” Roth also spoke out against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s crackdown against opposition lawmakers and critical journalists and academics.
Nearly three dozen Turkish diplomats and family members have claimed asylum in Germany over alleged affiliation to the network of US-based opposition leader Fethullah Gulen, whom the government in Ankara claims to have masterminded the failed July 15 coup attempt.
At least three Turkish diplomats, reportedly including one military attache, are seeking asylum in Germany in the wake of the failed military coup in Turkey, German media cited government sources as saying. That would likely further strain tense ties between Ankara and Berlin after Turkey was outraged by a resolution passed by Germany’s parliament that declared the 1915 massacre of Armenians to be genocide.
When Ercan Karakoyun goes to a restaurant in Kreuzberg or Neukölln, Berlin’s boroughs with a large migrant population, he never sits with his back to the door. When he leaves, he looks left and right before exiting, to make sure no one is waiting for him. He also stopped visiting Turkish mosques, fearing an attack.
Calling for an international probe into the accusation, Gulen told ZDF that he would be ready to answer to such an investigation. “If their accusations stand, then I will accept what they want. But they have neither succeeded in showing any concrete proof nor given an answer to my suggestion. Therefore, these are all just mere assertions,” he said.
According to a video posted by Mehmet Cerit, the editor of Zaman Vandaag, an overseas subsidiary of the government-seized Turkish daily Zaman, a man is seen turning away the people whom he considered Hizmet members, just before the Friday prayer in a mosque in Germany.
The Turkish-language newspaper “Zaman” will stop operations in Germany after “threats” to readers, a staff member has said. The Turkish government took over the paper in Turkey itself in March. “Our subscribers are being visited; they are being threatened that if they continue to subscribe, they will have problems,” Bag said. He added that the current situation in Turkey, where the government is carrying out a wide-ranging media purge, was spilling over into Germany.
The group has been active in Germany for many years, operating 150 tutoring centres in the country, 30 government-recognised schools and a dozen interfaith dialogue projects. It has long been seen as a moderate Islamic group although it has faced criticism over a lack of transparency.
Police in Germany are investigating whether calls to boycott shops owned by supporters of the self-exiled Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen constitute hate crimes. There are currently 15 open investigations. Police in the southern German city of Stuttgart said Wednesday they were investigating calls to avoid patronizing Gülen-friendly stores, shops and restaurants as potential hate crimes.