German prosecutors are looking into Halife Keskin, a top official at Turkey’s state-run religious affairs agency Diyanet, on suspicion his agency was spying on ethnic Turks in Germany, a local newspaper reported Friday.
Keskin, who heads the agency’s foreign affairs department, reportedly tasked its representatives across the world with collecting information on supporters of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, the Sueddeutsche Zeitung cited its sources as saying.
Turkey believes Germany is harboring supporters of Gulen, accused of masterminding last July’s failed military coup against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
On Tuesday, the Federal Prosecutor’s Office opened an inquiry into unnamed members of Turkey’s foreign intelligence agency MIT on similar charges. On Monday, German media revealed Turkey’s intelligence agency MIT kept tabs on some 300 of Turks living in Germany on suspicion they supported US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen, accused of plotting last July’s failed attempt to topple President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The extent of Turkish spying on its citizens became known after the MIT handed a list of targets to the German foreign intelligence agency, BND. Pistorius said 10 to 15 people and entities, including two firms and a school, were under surveillance in Lower Saxony alone. They had been warned against going to Turkey to avoid persecution.