DİTİB executive resigns amid Germany’s spying imam investigations

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Murat Kayman

A top executive of the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DİTİB) resigned on Wednesday amid spying charges against Turkish imams in Germany.

The coordinator of DİTİB, Murat Kayman, announced the resignation on his blog as the spying imam issue has led to tensions between Turkey and Germany.

The imams are accused of illegally profiling Turkish people in Germany, particularly sympathizers of the Gülen movement.

Last week, German police teams raided the apartments of four DİTİB imams in North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate who are suspected of acting as informants.
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 directorate to profile Gülen movement sympathizers.

In reaction to the investigations, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s spokesperson İbrahim Kalın said on Wednesday that Germany was pursuing a “witch-hunt” against DİTİB imams, claiming that the operations are politically motivated.

Earlier, DİTİB officials admitted to profiling Gülen movement sympathizers based on instructions from Turkey’s top religious authority, the Directorate of Religious Affairs.
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 Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C), which has carried out attacks in Turkey. German officials reject the accusation.

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