German lawmaker questions Berlin’s contact with FETÖ members
A German lawmaker has questioned the relationship between her country’s spy agency and FETÖ, with the government admitting that contact with the members of the group behind the failed 2016 coup attempt in Turkey continues, Anadolu Agency reported on Jan. 29.
Responding to a question in parliament submitted by the opposition Left Party, the German government confirmed Berlin’s ongoing talks and cooperation with FETÖ affiliated people, who are often referred to as Gülenists in Germany.
But Berlin declined to provide any information about these contacts, arguing that doing so could reveal sources and undermine the functional capability of the spy agencies, referring to the country’s foreign intelligence agency the BND and domestic intelligence agency the BfV.
Left Party lawmaker Ulla Jelpke sharply criticized the government for hiding information from parliament and stressed that Berlin’s continued talks with FETO, mainly through its intelligence organizations, was an alarming development.
“German intelligence organizations would like to benefit from the confidential information acquired by this movement through a decades-long campaign to infiltrate state institutions and through illegal eavesdropping,” she concluded, Anadolu Agency said.
FETÖ-linked groups have long denied having a hidden agenda or pursuing any political goals and claim that they were only working for inter-religious dialogue, education and cultural projects.
But court cases in Turkey have revealed that FETÖ and its leaders have built a secretive hierarchical structure and managed to infiltrate the key institutions of the military, police and judiciary to take control of the state.
FETÖ is classified as a terrorist organization by Turkey and its failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016 left 251 killed and nearly 2,200 injured.
The German government’s tolerance towards the group and its reluctance to extradite key FETÖ suspects to Turkey including ex-generals, bureaucrats or prosecutors involved in plots against the democratically elected government has been a major source of tension between Berlin and Ankara in recent years.
Since the 1990s, FETÖ members have managed to build a large network in Germany and the group claims to have around 70,000 followers in the country, Anadolu said.
“Around 14,000 people with suspected ties to FETO have also arrived in the country after the foiled coup attempt in Turkey, according to local reports,” it said.