Turkish religious affairs attaché in The Hague recalled after accusations of spying
ANKARATurkey has recalled the religious affairs attaché of the Turkish Embassy in The Hague, Yusuf Acar, after Dutch authorities accused him of gathering intelligence for the Gülen movement, believed to have orchestrated the July 15 coup attempt.
Acar was “invited” to Turkey and is currently in the country, a Turkish official has told the Hürriyet Daily News.
He was reportedly declared “persona non grata” and received a “deportation warning” by Dutch authorities.
The Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) has sent a report to a parliamentary commission set to investigate the attempted takeover about foreign organizations linked to the coup attempt in 38 different countries in early December. The report was prepared by information gathered by foreign representatives of the Diyanet to be submitted to the 9th Eurasia Islamic Conference which was scheduled to be held between Oct. 11 and 14, daily Cumhuriyet reported Dec. 9.
The report given to the parliamentary commission sparked debates on the Diyanet for being conducting intelligence work via their attaches in 38 countries, Cumhuriyet reported.
Following the report, the Dutch foreign minister reportedly briefed the Turkish ambassador in The Hague after the Dutch daily De Telegraaf cited Acar was the one who compiled the list of “Gülenists.”
The Netherlands’ Christian Democrat Party (CDA) on Dec. 15 demanded Acar should be deported.
The Diyanet denied the accusations on the same day, linking the allegations to rising Islamaphobia in Europe.
“There is nothing in recent news or in the Turkish press that accused the ‘Religious Affairs Directorate of working like the National Intelligence Agency (MİT).’ It is never acceptable for some media outlets in Europe to accuse our officials who work abroad for being ‘spies and informants’ after such news,” the statement released on Dec. 15 said.
“It is not a question that our religious officials who are appointed abroad to engage in any activity other than their duties, which is to make it easier for our citizens living abroad to perform their religious practices,” the statement added.