Dutch FM to summon Turkish ambassador over Diyanet’s intelligence activities

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Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders

Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders will summon the Turkish ambassador to the Netherlands to ask about intelligence gathering activities conducted by mosques operated by the Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet) about suspected followers of the faith-based Gülen movement, according to Dutch journalist Marc Guillet.

“Dutch FM Koenders will summon Turkish ambassador to protest Diyanet gathering intelligence on activities of suspected Gülen followers,” Guillet wrote from his Twitter account on Wednesday.

The Dutch daily Telegraaf on Wednesday published remarks of Yusuf Acar, the Turkish attaché in the Netherlands, who admitted that he had collected names of people who sympathize with Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen and passed it on to the regime of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

“As an attaché, I collected information that anyone can find on the Internet,” he said to the newspaper. He said he found the information on alleged members of “FETÖ” in the Netherlands.

FETÖ is a deragatory term coined by the Turkish government to refer to the Gülen movement as a terrorist organization despite lack of any court decision to this effect.

Turkey survived a military coup attempt on July 15 that killed over 240 people and wounded more than a thousand others. Immediately after the putsch, the government along with President Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement. The movement strongly denies any involvement in the coup attempt.

In the meantime, a document dated Sept. 20, 2016 showed that Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs asked Turkish missions and religious representatives abroad to profile Gülen movement expatriates living in their respective foreign countries.

According to the document, profiling reports were asked to be ready for presentation to religious leaders who were participating in the 9th Eurasia Islamic Council, organized by the Diyanet in İstanbul on Oct. 11-14.

It was also underlined in the document that the reports would be in line with decisions taken during the Religion Council that took place on Aug. 3-4 and was participated in by President Erdoğan.

The document overlapped with a story published by the Hürriyet Daily News last week that said Turkey’s Diyanet had gathered intelligence from imams in 38 countries on the activities of suspected followers of the Gülen movement.

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