Germany investigating 20 Turks on suspicion of spying: Die Welt
BERLIN – Reuters
AFP photoGerman authorities are investigating 20 Turkish citizens on suspicion of conducting espionage in Germany, a newspaper reported on April 6.
Die Welt said it received the information in an official government response to a question about the issue filed by Sevim Dağdelen, a German lawmaker with the hard left party Die Linke.
Tensions are running high between the two NATO allies ahead of the April 16 referendum on constitutional amendments in Turkey. Berlin infuriated Ankara after cancelling several campaign rallies by Turkish ministers in Germany, drawing accusations from Turkey of “Nazi” tactics.
Germany’s Federal Prosecutor’s Office (GBA) said last month it had launched a probe into suspected spying by Turkey.
German media said at the time that the entity being investigated was the National Intelligence Agency (MİT) and that it was suspected of spying on supporters of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, who is accused of masterminding the July 2016 failed coup attempt.
“At the moment we are investigating a total of 20 suspects on suspicion of conducting secret service agent activities on behalf of the Turkish government,” the German government wrote in its answer to the German lawmaker, Die Welt said.
German police in February raided the apartments of four imams suspected of spying on followers of Gülen on behalf of the Turkish government.