Turkey among top 4 countries engaged in espionage activities in Germany in 2021: BfV report

The Republic of Turkey was one of the four main countries engaged in espionage and seeking influence over Germany in 2021, Turkish Minute reportedciting Deutsche Welle’s Turkish service.

The other countries grouped with Turkey were the Russian Federation, the People’s Republic of China and the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The assessment was included in an annual report for 2021 by Germany’s Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) – the country’s internal security agency – which was made public by Interior Minister Nancy Faeser and BfV President Thomas Haidenwang.

According to DW, the report said the espionage activities of foreign powers gradually took on a “difficult” character and “posed a serious threat” to Germany and the interests of the German government last year.

The investigation carried out by the countries concerned into opposition groups in Germany and their attempts to infiltrate not only “created a climate of fear”, but also “posed a threat to the safety of persons” in the country, according to the 2021 report of the BfV.

The National Intelligence Organization of Turkey (MİT) was described by the report as “the central element of Turkey’s security architecture” which helps the Turkish government, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Justice and Development (AKP) to implement government policy, maintain internal security and gather information to prepare political decisions.

“Germany remains one of the main foreign intelligence targets of Turkish intelligence services and security authorities,” the report said, adding that they primarily focus on individuals and organizations that oppose or are believed to oppose the Turkish government, particularly members of the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and people linked to the Gülen sectarian movement.

Designated as a terrorist group by Turkey, the EU and the United States, the PKK has been waging an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984 that has claimed tens of thousands of lives.

Erdoğan has been targeting supporters of the Gülen movement, a faith-based group inspired by Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen, since corruption investigations from December 17-25, 2013, which implicated then-Prime Minister Erdoğan, his family members and his surroundings.

Dismissing the investigations as a Gülenist coup and a plot against his government, Erdoğan branded the movement a terrorist organization and began targeting its members. He stepped up the crackdown on the movement following a July 15, 2016 coup attempt that he accused Gülen of orchestrating. Gülen and the movement strongly deny any involvement in the failed putsch or any terrorist activity.

Turkey also focuses its intelligence or influence activities in Germany on politics, industry and the military, as well as on the research and high-tech sectors and their effects on the EU and NATO. , the report said, adding that Turkish pro-government organizations, such as the Union of International Democrats (UID) – known as Erdoğan’s largest network in Europe – promote the current policy in Germany and in other European countries.

The report lists the Turkish Hezbollah (TH), the Millî Görüş movement and its affiliated associations (IGMG) and the Furkan Gemeinschaft (Furkan community) as Islamic extremist organizations and the PKK, the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/ C) and the right-wing of the Turkish Ülkücü movement as the extremist organizations of foreigners who are followed by the BfV to threaten security.

The number of criminal and violent offenses associated with extremism committed by foreigners increased by 17.4% in 2021 to 776, according to the report.

Speaking at a press conference, Haldenwang said he considered a possible scenario in which the Turkish government could further increase its activities in Germany and tensions could escalate within Turkish society in Germany ahead of the upcoming elections. should be held next year in Turkey.

“We are in dialogue with our Turkish partners. We will follow all relevant clues as part of our work in which we … also monitor Turkish organizations. We will also take the necessary measures,” Haldenwang said.

Stating that they are closely monitoring the conflicts in Turkey and their thoughts on Germany, Feaser also said they will work “to ensure that the conflicts in Turkey do not move here to Germany.”

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