A new report has leaked information that the Turkish spy agency has over 6,000 operatives in Germany and may reach into neighbouring Austria as well.
According to a new report from German media, the Turkish intelligence service, known at MIT, has over 6,000 operatives in Germany and may play a part in the recent pro-Erdogan sentiment among the Turkish diaspora.
The MIT has even pressured German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere to act against supporters of Imam Fethullah Gülen, the man President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blames for being behind the failed coup last month. The MIT have allowed Erdogan to keep close ties to the Turkish community in Germany Kronen Zeitung reports.
Erich Schmidt-Eenboom, an expert on intelligence agencies in Germany said: “The activities of the Turkish secret service MIT were always tolerated in Germany. This is no longer about intelligence reconnaissance, but increasingly used to acquire intelligence to repress.”
The charge has been confirmed by Green party MP Christian Ströbele who said that the German domestic intelligence, German police and other authorities needed to reexamine their relationship with the Turkish spy agency. Ströbele promised to make formal requests into the matter in the Bundestag after the summer. “I’m going to put the subject ‘work of the Turkish secret service in Germany’ on the agenda in the supervisory board immediately after the holidays, ” he said.
In neighbouring Austria there are also concerns that the MIT may be influencing the actions of Turks in that country. Peter Pilz of the Austrian Green party has expressed a desire to find out if the reach of the MIT extends to the alpine nation. Pilz warned of the possibility of a “systematic spying of all persons of Turkish, Kurdish and Alevi origin,” in Austria by the MIT.
Pilz claims that the MIT had also approached the Austrian government to give over information on Gülen supports and warned Turks in Austria to not visit their homeland though admitted he had no evidence the Austrian government had handed Ankara any information. The solution to the problem, according to Pilz, is to make all MIT operatives persona non grata in Austria and give them 48 hours to leave the country or face arrest. He also added that Austria should consider an arms embargo so that Austrian weapons aren’t used to target minority Kurds in Turkey.
The solution to the problem, according to Pilz, is to make all MIT operatives persona non grata in Austria and give them 48 hours to leave the country or face arrest. He also added that Austria should consider an arms embargo so that Austrian weapons aren’t used to target minority Kurds in Turkey.
Since the failed coup the Erdogan government has cracked down on supporters of Fethullah Gülen arresting tens of thousands of government and military personnel. Many Kurds and other minority groups in Germany and Austria have said they feel threatened by Turkish nationalists who may have links to MIT.
In both countries there have been rallies and protests in support of Erdogan, one in Cologne attracted tens of thousands of supporters. In Vienna a demonstration by Kurds against Turkey’s policies in the south of the country led to a violent confrontation in the cities central square that scared tourists enough to make them think a terror attack was imminent.