Turkey’s spying activities in Germany increased in 2021

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The number of investigations launched by German authorities into the activities of foreign intelligence services in the country, particularly Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT), increased in 2021 compared to the previous year, local media reported on Tuesday, citing a report by the German Die Welt newspaper.

According to the report, based on data revealed in the federal government’s response to a parliamentary question by Germany’s Left Party (Die Linke), while 14 investigations had been launched into the activities of foreign intelligence services in Germany in 2020, the figure rose to 22 in 2021.

Left Party MP Sevim Dağdelen told Die Welt that German authorities had initiated 10 investigations into Turkey’s MİT in two years, four in 2020 and the remainder in 2021.

Saying that two of the probes resulted in decisions of non-prosecution and none of the remaining four was turned into a lawsuit, Dağdelen accused the federal government of inaction on the matter.

The MP said it was clear the federal government had no intention of eliminating Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s network in the country, urging the new German government to put more pressure on Ankara.

Turkey’s spying activities in Germany increased, especially following an attempted coup that targeted Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) government on July 15, 2016, the report said.

The latest development took place in September, when a 40-year-old suspect, identified as Ali D., was arrested in a luxury hotel in Düsseldorf after an employee noticed a weapon on him, on charges that he was spying for Turkey.

The German police confiscated a list of names of some Gülen movement followers and bullets during a raid on the suspect’s hotel room, while prosecutors found suspicious financial transactions in his bank account.

German prosecutors said there were indications that Ali D. was collecting information on supporters of the Gülen movement living in and around the city of Cologne “in order to pass it on to the Turkish MIT intelligence service,” according to a Der Spiegel report at the time.

The Turkish government accuses the Gülen movement, inspired by Muslim preacher Fethullah Gülen, of masterminding a failed coup attempt in 2016 and labels it a “terrorist organization,” although the movement strongly denies involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.

Since 2016, Turkey has arrested tens of thousands of people suspected to have links to the faith-based group, while thousands of Gülen followers have fled Turkey and taken refuge in Europe and other countries in order to avoid the government-led crackdown.

For years, Turkey has repeatedly urged the German authorities to take action against Gülen supporters who sought asylum in the country.

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