German deputy asks for questioning of Turkish PM over spying imams

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel shakes hands with Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim ahead of bilateral talks during the 53rd Munich Security Conference (MCS) in Munich on February 18, 2017. AFP PHOTO

A German deputy filed a complaint against Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım, who is holding a rally in Germany today, over alleged links to spying Turkish imams in Germany.

German Spiegel reported on the legal complaint filed by deputy Volker Beck on Saturday at a prosecutor’s office in Karlsruhe.

Beck asked for questioning of the Turkish prime minister over his connection to spying imams appointed by the Turkish government and asked for his detention if necessary.

The complaint states that imams who illegally profiled Gülen movement sympathizers and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan critics in Germany are directly linked to the Office of the Prime Minister in Turkey.

German police teams on Wednesday raided the apartments of four Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DİTİB) imams in North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate who are suspected of acting as informants on sympathizers of the Gülen movement.

The Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office (GBA) said in a statement that the imams had acted on an order issued on Sept. 20 of last year by the Turkish Religious Affairs Directorate [to profile Gülen movement sympathizers].

German Justice Minister Heiko Maas said the four imams were members of DİTİB.

“It is very clear that the influence of the Turkish state on DİTİB is big. The association must plausibly disengage itself from Ankara,” Maas said in a statement.

The GBA said Wednesday’s searches were aimed at finding more evidence to link the suspects to espionage activities.

“The suspects are suspected of having collected information about members of the so-called Gülen movement and passed it on to the general consulate in Cologne,” the GBA said.

Last month the GBA launched an investigation into Turkish intelligence operations on German soil after a lawmaker filed a criminal complaint. Austria is also investigating whether Turkey has been operating an informer network targeting Gülen followers on its soil, via its embassy in Vienna.

Turkey has accused Germany of harboring militants from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and far-leftists of the DHKP/C, which has carried out attacks in Turkey.

Turkey’s Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ condemned the raids and accused Germany of not fulfilling the requirements of the rule of law.

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