Turkey aims to finish off its opponents abroad, Austrian politician says

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Berivan Aslan, a politician from Austria’s Green Party, is known for her minority-related efforts in the country.

An alleged assassination plot targeting Austrian-Kurdish politician Berivan Aslan and reportedly devised by Turkey’s intelligence service was aimed at finishing off the opposition against Turkey’s ruling party, even abroad, Aslan told Deutsche Welle (DW) Turkish on Thursday.  

“The case itself is very scary. Look, they [Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government] are now trying to [silence] opponents abroad, after doing that in Turkey. And [they are doing this] in a totally barbarous way by using mafia methods. It truly scares me,” the politician said.

Speaking to the Ahval news website in an exclusive interview on Wednesday, Aslan also claimed that “certain circles” together with the pro-government media were trying to render the assassination claims groundless.

“The assassination plan is real. I was personally informed about the plan by Austrian intelligence. I have been under police protection for nine days,” Aslan told Ahval.

Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT) allegedly planned to have Aslan assassinated by one of its operatives.

Earlier in September Austrian Interior Minister Karl Nehammer had signaled that they were questioning an agent who had confessed to spying for MIT, without providing further detail.

Last week, the identity of the operative was revealed as Feyyaz Ö., an Italian national with Turkish roots.

Surrendering himself “by going directly to Austrian intelligence,” Feyyaz Ö. testified self-confidently, Aslan added. The agent was told to “assassinate Aslan and convey the message.”

The operative was ordered to “cause chaos” among the Turkish and Kurdish communities in Austria, the Etkin News Agency (ETHA) said on Wednesday.

“I am not that important for them [the AKP]. However, I realized that I don’t represent a single body. I belong to a wide-ranging community — Alevis, Kurds, women, Muslims. … I can raise my voice for everyone. I think they [the AKP] looked at it from a different viewpoint this time. I think they thought the target should be an independent person so they could threaten Europe,” the politician said.

In June ultranationalist Turkish groups attacked Kurds in Vienna while they were protesting Turkey’s recent offensive against Kurds in Syria. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his partner, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), accuse many Kurds of having ties to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has waged an insurgency in the country since 1984. 

In his confession Feyyaz Ö. had also admitted to giving false testimony as a secret witness in the trial of Metin Topuz, an employee of the US Consulate General in Istanbul who was sentenced to eight years, nine months in prison on terror charges in June, according to a report on zackzack.at.

Peter Pilz, the editor of the Zack Zack website, was also on the assassination list, in addition to Andreas Schieder, a member of the European Parliament from the Social Democratic Party of Austria (SPÖ), and Efgani Dönmez, a Turkish-born former Austrian parliamentarian.

Similarly, last week another attack on a dissident was carried out last week in Sweden. Abdullah Bozkurt, a Turkish journalist forced to live in exile, was attacked by three men near his home in Stockholm. After the violent attack, the perpetrators ran away, while the journalist sustained injuries to the face, head, arms and legs.

Bozkurt and his colleagues in Sweden run the Nordic Monitor news website, providing exclusive and critical coverage on Turkey such as MIT’s clandestine activities.

“Bozkurt has regularly been receiving threats online, mostly from Turkey,” Nordic Monitor said last week.

In June Bozkurt had pointed to an open threat by two pro-AKP columnists.

“[Erdoğan’s] f***headed idiot operatives Cem Kucuk and Fuat Ugur publicly ask [for] my assassination on … national TV,” Bozkurt tweeted at the time.

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