German police warned lawmakers of possible Turkish spying: Report

German police warned lawmakers of possible Turkish spying: Report

BERLIN - Reuters
German police warned lawmakers of possible Turkish spying: Report

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German federal police have warned parliamentarians they may have been spied on by Turkish intelligence and may also face potential security risks from Turkish nationalists, Die Welt newspaper reported on June 28.

The report could further strain already frayed ties between Germany and Turkey, which are at loggerheads over a wide range of issues.

“The Federal Criminal Police Office carried out so-called ‘security discussions’ with several members of parliament in recent weeks,” Die Welt reported.

“The discussions reportedly centred on the possible surveillance of Turkish intelligence and security risks posed by Turkish nationalists,” it added.

The Federal Criminal Police Office was not immediately available to comment on the report.

Germany’s chief federal prosecutor in January launched an investigation into possible spying by clerics sent to Germany by the Turkish government, and in March opened a second, unrelated probe into suspected espionage.

At the time, German media reports said the Turkish Intelligence Agency (MİT) was suspected of spying on supporters of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, who is accused of masterminding the failed July 2016 military coup attempt.

Ties between NATO allies Ankara and Berlin have been strained since the failed coup in Turkey last year, but have worsened over multiple issues including the campaign for a Turkish referendum on major constitutional amendments that was held on April 16. 

Other issues straining ties include the German parliament’s approval of a resolution describing the Ottoman Empire’s World War I-era massacre of Armenians as genocide, Berlin’s criticism of the Turkish government’s suspending of thousands of civil servants after the coup attempt, and Turkey’s jailing of German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yücel. 

Germany’s parliament this month approved the planned withdrawal of troops from the İncirlik air base in southern Turkey after Ankara’s refusal to allow German lawmakers access to German soldiers there.

Turkey has also accused some German lawmakers of supporting the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a charge they reject.