The documentary, entitled How Erdoğan critics are exposed to espionage in Germany“revealed evidence that espionage is still in progress by the Turkish Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DTB) in Germany on behalf of the Turkeys National Intelligence Organization (MT)
According to the documentary, the Turkish intelligence agency is heavily dependent on Turkish mosques operating under the aegis of DTBs. DTB is the largest Islamic organization in Germany and manages more than 900 mosques located in the 16 German states.
In its documentary, the German channel interviewed Turkish citizens who fled to Germany after the failed coup attempt against Erdoğan in 2016. Exiled Turks living in Germany said they were directly threatened by imams of the DTB mosques because of their criticism of Erdoğan and his governments.
zil lives with his family in a small town near the german city of Kassel, and he sometimes visited the nearby mosque to pray until the imam arrested and threatened him after saying that he knew that he belonged to a group that opposed Erdoğan.
In an interview with the channel, Elinal zil, a young Turkish refugee in Germany after the attempted coup for fear of arbitrary arrest because of his political activities, said he was directly threatened by supporters of Erdoğans in Germany.
zil said he did not expect to feel fear again after leaving Turkey for Germany, especially since he hoped for a new life full of security and stability in his new country.
Espionage led by the Turkish government is not limited to opponents and critics fleeing to Germany. It also includes German political figures and parliamentarians of Turkish and Kurdish origin.
Speaking to ZDF, Sevim Dadelen, a member of the Left Party in the German Parliament, said that she was afraid of the spy operations carried out by Erdoğan and the Turkish intelligence agency against anyone who criticizes his policy from abroad.
Dadelen, who lived under the protection of the German police, said that the German government assumed much of the responsibility for the violations and the spy operations that Turkey would carry out because of its “encouraging” policy towards Erdoğan who directs the ‘State with the spirit of a “mafia gang leader”.
According to the documentary, imams of DTB mosques are required to collect information about the targets and their location. Information is sent directly to the Turkish embassy and consulates in German cities, which in turn pass it on to Turkish intelligence.
Allegations of Turkish espionage, as well as death and kidnapping threats against opponents of Erdoğan and his government in Germany, have already been published, but the German authorities have apparently so far failed to act and have declared that there was insufficient evidence to warrant the initiation of proceedings. .
However, some German politicians and opponents of the Turkish government attribute the German government’s inaction to the strong economic and military ties between the two countries.
The Turkish intelligence agency officially has dozens of its agents in Germany, but the actual number of people who work to monitor and gather information from dissidents is almost 8,000, according to the German channel.
In order to speed up and facilitate the reporting and espionage of Erdoğan’s opponents and critics, it has been reported by German media In 2018, the Turkish intelligence agency developed a telephone application called Emniyet Genel Mdrl-EGM (General Directorate of Security) allowing any Turkish citizen living in Germany to denounce anyone – whatever their nationality – who criticizes Erdoğan or his government, verbally or online.
Turkish security forces, in turn, can archive notifications and issue arrest warrants against reported persons and send their names to border crossings and airports for the purpose of arresting them upon entering Turkish territory.
The German Federal Foreign Office explicitly warns citizens online about travel and security in Turkey: exposing yourself to detention by the Turkish security authorities.
The accusation that DTB is spying on behalf of the Turkish intelligence services and Erdoan is not new, especially since DTB has admitted that the imams in its mosques have already collected information on members of the Glen movement – that Turkey accuses of having orchestrated the failure of the 2016 coup – and sent it to the Turkish intelligence services in Ankara.
In early 2017, DTB Secretary General Bekir Alboa officially apologized, stating: “We deeply regret this problem.”
ZDF said the official apology has not deterred the organization and its imams from continuing to spy on opponents and critics of the Turkish government.
The relationship between the German government and DTB has deteriorated for years as the organization’s perception has changed. He went from being a partner in terms of integrating immigrants and refugees to a suspicious organization carrying out spy operations and inciting Turkish citizens to take action against opponents of Erdoğan.
In 2018, the financial support received by DTBs from the German government fell to 297,000 euros ($ 333,228, compared to 1.5 million euros in 2017, due to the uncertainties surrounding it, according to German media.
DTB’s links with the Turkish governmentpushed the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution in Germany to classify it as a nationalist, rather than a religious, organization in 2018, but she said that it did not warrant further observation by the authorities. The recent ZDF documentary might suggest a closer look.