Suspects have no links to intelligence service: Turkish FM
Sevil Erkuş - firstname.lastname@example.org ANKARA
REUTERS PhotoThree Turks accused of spying on compatriots in Germany for the Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MİT) had no links to either the spy agency or the Directorate of Overseas Turks, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told reporters Dec. 19.
One of the accused Turks renounced his Turkish citizenship in 2015, Çavuşoğlu said, adding that the Turkish Consulate in Germany was closely following the issue but that nothing had yet been clarified.
The Turkish consulate in Karlsruhe contacted one of the arrested three Turkish men, while another refused to meet with the consul, a Turkish official told the Hürriyet Daily News.
One of the arrested men carries Turkish passport, another dropped his Turkish citizenship in 2005, and the nationality of the third is not certain yet, according to the official.
A lawyer has been assigned for the case, while a prosecutor will reveal the court file about the accusations and charges next week, according to the official.
One suspect, Muhammed Taha G. has a website on which he identified himself as an adviser to the prime ministry.
But officials for Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu told the Daily News that he was not an official at the Prime Ministry nor an adviser to Davutoğlu.
German prosecutors said Dec. 18 that they had arrested three men.
The federal prosecutor’s office said two of the suspects – Muhammed Taha G. and Göksel G. – were arrested Dec. 17 at Frankfurt airport. The third, Ahmet Duran Y., was arrested at his home in western Germany.
Muhammed Taha G. is accused of handling the other two as agents, and they collected information for him on Turks in Germany as well as their “organizational structures,” prosecutors said in a statement.
They did not elaborate or say when the alleged spying took place, but said arrest warrants were issued on Nov. 11. The suspects were ordered to be remanded in custody pending a possible indictment.
Turkish security officials said the arrests came soon after media outlets affiliated to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) alleged that the Turkish Cooperation and Development Agency (TİKA) was being used by MİT to recruit agents in Germany. They also noted that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had recently slammed the European Union regarding a Dec. 14 police operation on the Gülen community in Turkey.
Germany is home to a large Turkish community.
In August, Turkey summoned Germany’s ambassador and demanded an explanation over a German magazine report that Germany’s foreign intelligence agency listed Turkey, a NATO ally, as a target for intelligence gathering. German officials refused to confirm the report.
Meanwhile, German Interior Ministry Spokesman Tobias Plate said at a regular press conference in Berlin on Dec. 19 that he could not give an opinion on the issue due to “continuation of inquiry.”
Plate said that the inquiry was being conducted by the criminal department of Germany’s Rhineland-Palatinate State. German Justice Ministry Deputy Spokesman Piotr Malachowski also declined to comment. “The prosecutor office conducts the inquiry,” Malachowski said.