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Thread: 2016 Turkish Coup Attempt

  1. #271
    Military Professional
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    06 Aug 03
    I'm still waiting for proof that Gulen mastermind this coup. None has surfaced. The only proof is that these guys believe in his message. Not one single piece of evidence of a telephone call, a meeting, money transfers, any sort of paper or electronic trails.

  2. #272
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    13 Nov 07
    Quote Originally Posted by Officer of Engineers View Post
    I'm still waiting for proof that Gulen mastermind this coup. None has surfaced. The only proof is that these guys believe in his message. Not one single piece of evidence of a telephone call, a meeting, money transfers, any sort of paper or electronic trails.
    Exactly. This is Erdogan redefining the act of having different ideas as a conspiracy against the government.

  3. #273
    A Self Important Senior Contributor troung's Avatar
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    03 Aug 03
    Not a big fan of AQ supporting Turkey but I also don't like the idea of an Clinton connected Islamist blinking the taxpayer out of money on his cultish charter schools.

    Too bad they can't all sink into the ocean...

    What's behind Turkey’s selective clampdown on Gulen community?

    More than a month after the July 15 coup attempt in Turkey, the crackdown on suspected members of the Gulen community, the accused culprits of the putsch, is continuing and expanding. As of Aug. 18, about 12,000 people have been jailed pending trial, including prominent businessmen, academics, journalists and soldiers; 10,000 people remain in custody for questioning and 85,000 public servants have been either suspended or dismissed. To make room in the prisons, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government issued a legislative decree last week, paving the way for the release of at least 38,000 prisoners, including convicted thieves.
    ⎙ Print
    The Turkish government’s conduct in the clampdown on the Gulen community suggests it has little intention to acknowledge its own contributions to the turmoil.
    Author Sukru Kucuksahin Posted August 24, 2016
    TranslatorSibel Utku Bila

    So where will all this end and what is the criteria in the detentions? The government’s answer is highly controversial as it outlines criteria aimed openly at shielding the AKP, which had enjoyed a decadelong alliance with the Gulen community and showered it with favors. It was only after the two fell out that the government branded the community the Fethullah Gulen Terror Organization (FETO).

    So the date of the fallout is now pinned as a milestone in “detecting” Gulenists and their supporters. It was Prime Minister Binali Yildirim himself who drew the line in response to mounting criticism that the purges had become a witch hunt. Even his deputy, Tugrul Turkes, joined the outcry, saying, “People have come to blame FETO even for the broken shock absorbers of their cars.” In remarks on Aug. 13, Yildirim pledged the authorities would work meticulously, adding, “We’ve determined Dec. 17-25 [2013] as the milestone.”

    The premier was referring to two massive corruption probes that became public Dec. 17-25, 2013, as police moved to round up suspects, including the sons of Cabinet ministers, AKP members and crony businessmen. The government argued the probes were a plot by Gulenist police and prosecutors to unseat the AKP, dismissed leaked incriminating tapes as fabrication and soon blocked the probes. Of note, a top suspect in the probes, Iranian-Turkish gold trader Reza Zarrab, is now awaiting trial in the United States for breaching US sanctions on Iran, and the 2013 investigation is said to serve as reference for US prosecutors.

    In the years before the corruption scandal, the government had backed massive trials targeting mainly soldiers but also journalists, intellectuals and politicians, with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, then prime minister, calling himself "the prosecutor" of the cases. He would later disown the trials as a Gulenist plot to weaken the military and claim he had been “deceived.” Hundreds of people spent years in jail before being acquitted after key evidence used to convict suspects turned out to be fabrication.

    Dursun Cicek, a colonel who was among the victims and is now a deputy for the main opposition Republican People's Party, slammed Yildirim’s “milestone” as “egocentric and insincere,” stressing that the Gulenist drive “to take control of the state” had begun in 2007, the year when the first dubious roundups began.

    “Some would put the starting point at an even earlier date, but 2007 marked the beginning of incessant [Gulenist] operations,” Cicek told Al-Monitor. About 2,000 officers were decommissioned as a result of the trials, and up to 8,000 others quit the army “out of fear or because they lost hope” for their careers, he said, adding, “This led to FETO both breaking out of control and filling the vacant positions with its own people. They began gaining strength at a much faster pace.”

    Cicek mentioned the 2010 referendum as another landmark that emboldened the Gulenists, echoing a widespread conviction that constitutional amendments approved at the referendum helped Gulenists seize key posts in the judiciary. Cicek quoted former AKP deputy and Erdogan adviser Faruk Koca as telling him, “If the [Gulen] community had asked for one [public] position before the 2010 referendum, it began asking for 10 after it.”

    “FETO was successfully carrying out its campaign to seize the state in those years, but Dec. 17-25, 2013, is the convenient milestone for the government because it’s important with respect to [evading] international crimes and corruption and bribery allegations. Beyond that, it’s neither fair nor justifiable,” Cicek said.

    Besides the sham trials, rigged public service exams are another major grievance blamed on Gulenists before 2013. The media and the opposition had long sounded alarms that the exam questions were being stolen and distributed to selected people before the exams, but Erdogan and the government kept dismissing the claims. Today, at least 15,000 public servants face almost certain dismissal for having won their positions through the scheme. Yet their dismissal would serve nothing to remedy the plight of thousands of exam sitters who were unfairly disqualified and left jobless for years.

    The list of grievances and allegations is long, but one thing is obvious: Since 2009, Turkey has witnessed a series of mass roundups and trials, and now — with the onslaught on Gulenists in full swing — it seems to be bracing for more. Hence, the government is facing calls to distinguish between the wrongdoers and the innocent and prevent more people from being victimized.

    It’s truly intriguing how the clampdown has so far failed to uncover the political leg of the putsch or FETO, despite tens of thousands arrested in other realms. The government has a good reason to shy away from this, having backed the Gulenists for years. According to pro-government journalists and former Gulenists, the community’s presence in the state grew at least 15 times under the AKP.

    This, in turn, has led to a frenzy of blaming anything on the Gulenists — like the son of late President Turgut Ozal, who earlier claimed his father was poisoned and now says he suspects a Gulenist finger in his death. Such claims can be passed over, but some old videos and speeches circulated on social media demonstrate amply why the government draws the line at 2013.

    Take, for instance, the speech of Kamer Genc, the late opposition deputy, made in parliament in 2009. The flamboyant Genc was warning the AKP would “suffer the biggest blow” from the Gulen community in the future, while AKP deputies loudly protested and sought to get him off the rostrum. In another parliamentary session in March 2011, Bekir Bozdag, the incumbent justice minister, dismissed similar warnings by the opposition. “Fethullah Gulen is a precious value this country has raised. You may or may not like him, but he is an estimable and erudite person,” Bozdag said. “Everything about him is transparent and under the supervision of the state. You will do him great injustice if you accuse him as a gang [leader] without any judicial charge or conviction. Accusing clean people of being gang [leaders] is unacceptable.”

    It’s past speeches like this that cast doubt on the government’s intent over the milestone it has set. The government, however, feels little pressure for accountability, as the Turkish media has largely lost its critical edge and the opposition is struggling to make its voice heard. Yet all cover-ups will inevitably surface tomorrow, as past cover-ups are surfacing today. Hence, the AKP has to face up to its mistake and refrain from creating new victims and thus ease the tensions gripping the country.
    Sukru Kucuksahin
    Contributor, Turkey Pulse

    Sukru Kucuksahin has been a journalist for 35 years. He has worked for Ankara Ekspres, Gunaydin, Sabah, CNBC-e/NTV and Hurriyet as correspondent to the parliament, Prime Ministry and Presidency. From 2003 to 2016, he served as deputy Ankara representative and columnist for Hurriyet, one of Turkey’s leading newspapers. He is also a frequent TV commentator on domestic political affairs.
    Original Al-Monitor Translations
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    To sit down with these men and deal with them as the representatives of an enlightened and civilized people is to deride ones own dignity and to invite the disaster of their treachery - General Matthew Ridgway

  4. #274
    FreeGeneral Senior Contributor Big K's Avatar
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    11 Dec 06
    Istanbul, Turkey, Turkey
    Quote Originally Posted by Officer of Engineers View Post
    So, he's being punished for believing in something but did absolutely nothing wrong? He's being punished for his beliefs.

    Do you not see how dangerous this is?

    I also have absolutely no illusions that had the coup plotters succeeded, they would also be punishing those who believe in Erdo.

    This is extremely ugly.

    i want to remind that i am no fan of Erdogan at all. i cant say that govt dont/cant use this incident to purge their political opponents but there is a pattern they pursue here. i will try to explain

    there are two things in action here.

    first of all they seem to intern/arrest are the ones whose connection is proven (mostly financial connections) to be continued with gulen movement after 17-25 december incident. there are tons of internments which didnt turn in to arrests.

    secondly, and this is an incredibly sensitive matter in Turkey. They simply can not punish people ONLY for honestly believing in Islam (and being deceived by doing so) because of the same base voters of their own party (akp). the "honest religious feelings" (i try to translate it exactly as it is), in the eyes of 90% of the Turkish population (this does not include me. it is simply laziness of "reading" Kuran as it is and using their brain which is given to them for free) are a credible excuse for being deceived... Even akp, with this huge support at their back, must show evidences like bank account connections and etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by tbm3fan View Post
    Do you not see a problem with this. Based on what you have described it would be Ok for the Democrats to go after Trump Republicans after the election because of their beliefs and vice versa. Labor vs. Conservatives in Britain and on and on.

    You are Ok about going after someone because of their belief rather than because of any criminal act they committed or is a belief a criminal act now?

    could i shed more light on the matter with the answer above ?
    Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none; be able for thine enemy rather in power than use; and keep thy friend under thine own life's key; be checked for silence, but never taxed for speech.

  5. #275
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    06 Aug 03
    Quote Originally Posted by Big K View Post

    i want to remind that i am no fan of Erdogan at all. i cant say that govt dont/cant use this incident to purge their political opponents but there is a pattern they pursue here. i will try to explain

    there are two things in action here.

    first of all they seem to intern/arrest are the ones whose connection is proven (mostly financial connections) to be continued with gulen movement after 17-25 december incident. there are tons of internments which didnt turn in to arrests.

    secondly, and this is an incredibly sensitive matter in Turkey. They simply can not punish people ONLY for honestly believing in Islam (and being deceived by doing so) because of the same base voters of their own party (akp). the "honest religious feelings" (i try to translate it exactly as it is), in the eyes of 90% of the Turkish population (this does not include me. it is simply laziness of "reading" Kuran as it is and using their brain which is given to them for free) are a credible excuse for being deceived... Even akp, with this huge support at their back, must show evidences like bank account connections and etc.
    So a lazy athlete who believes in the man and the man is sponsoring him.

    What is so illegal about any of this? Gulen is sponsoring him so he can advertise his word for him. What is so different from a Turk gymnast being sponsor by Nike?

    Nothing you wrote is nor should be illegal.

  6. #276
    A Self Important Senior Contributor troung's Avatar
    Join Date
    03 Aug 03
    We should mess with the terrorists running Turkey and actually give this jackass over. Let those festivities begin.

    U.S. Schools Caught in Turkey’s Crackdown After Attempted Coup
    Bradley Joseph Saacks
    September 2, 2016 — 12:00 AM EDT
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    Fethullah Gulen

    Fethullah Gulen.
    Source: The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images

    The botched July coup against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his government is putting renewed scrutiny on a global network of schools allegedly linked to an Islamic scholar living in rural Pennsylvania.

    As Erdogan’s government continues its domestic crackdown in the wake of the failed putsch -- detaining or firing thousands of soldiers, teachers, judges and business leaders -- it has ramped up pressure on the U.S. to extradite Fethullah Gulen, a 75-year-old preacher once allied with the Turkish leader and now blamed by his regime as the coup’s mastermind.

    Part of that campaign involves persuading the U.S. to investigate or close schools Turkey says are tied to the cleric. A Turkish delegation visited Washington in August to reiterate their call for Gulen’s extradition and stronger efforts to clamp down on his support network, calling him a terrorist. That pressure continued when Vice President Joe Biden traveled to Turkey to meet Erdogan last week. Gulen rejects the accusations and publicly opposed the coup.

    "All across the board, people are skeptical of the Gulen community, and they are using this time to settle scores, old scores," said Aykan Erdemir, a former member of Turkey’s parliament and senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington.
    Islamic State

    The coup’s aftermath has fueled the biggest crisis in U.S.-Turkish relations in a generation, and those tensions will be on display this weekend when Erdogan and President Barack Obama meet during the Group of 20 Summit in China. With the U.S. dependent on Turkey’s Incirlik air base as part of its war against Islamic State, Biden sought to sooth relations with the NATO partner.

    "Our support is absolute and it is unwavering,” Biden said alongside Erdogan, who described the alliance with Washington as a “model partnership.” Nonetheless, frustration over the Gulen situation surfaced and Biden was forced to explain the U.S. justice system and procedures for extradition.

    "The Constitution and our laws require for someone to be extradited that a court of the United States has to conclude there’s probable cause to extradite," Biden said. "How long it will take will depend on what evidence is presented."

    For a QuickTake on Gulen’s potential extradition, click here.

    Through books and speeches disseminated online from his redoubt in the Pocono Mountains, Gulen has preached a philosophy of moderate Islam and education advocacy to millions of followers. His movement is credited with building thousands of educational institutions worldwide, including more than 100 in the U.S., where it has capitalized on growing public support for taxpayer-funded charter schools.

    Even before the revolt, this network was already in Erdogan’s sights. Critics say Gulen gets payments from supporters doing contract work on the schools or from “donations” made by Turkish instructors brought to the U.S. on special visas to teach at them, charges he has rejected. Instead, in legal documents, Gulen describes himself as “an educator to other educators” and someone whose ideas have influenced teaching.

    Alp Aslandogan, head of the Gulen-inspired Alliance for Shared Values, said in an interview that the preacher hasn’t had a role in establishing or founding any school since his movement’s early days in Turkey decades ago. Any current ties are merely on the “intellectual or inspirational level,” he said.

    Several charter chains thought to be related to the Gulen movement have been investigated by local authorities for misusing taxpayer dollars, but the inquiries haven’t resulted in charges of wrong doing. That hasn’t stopped Erdogan’s government from stepping up its campaign.
    School Closings

    In October, Turkey retained law firm Amsterdam & Partners LLP to investigate U.S. schools from Florida to Texas for allegedly misusing public funds and spreading Gulenist propaganda. Abroad, Somalia has closed all schools related to the movement and Azerbaijan took a pro-Gulen broadcast off the air.

    Without legally convincing evidence, researchers and Gulen critics are left in the position of arguing that the recluse manages to benefit indirectly from the educational network he inspired.

    The U.S. schools share similar traits: Turkish founders, administrators and board members; science, technology and math curricula; and a significant percentage of Turkish instructors. Some schools also offer Turkish language and cultural classes.

    “We have what I would call very significant and incriminating circumstantial evidence,” Amsterdam lawyer John Martin said in a phone interview. He said local investigations haven’t been effective because they don’t look at Gulen’s global network of support.
    ‘How He Operates’

    "This is how he operates as a leader," said Josh Hendrick, a sociology professor from Loyola University in Maryland who wrote a book on the Gulen network. “This is not a vertically-integrated firm” with Gulen directly and publicly at the top, he added.

    Some of the evidence linking Gulen dates to arguments made by his lawyers a decade ago when he was applying for permanent U.S. residency. According to reports by the Philadelphia Inquirer at the time, Gulen’s legal team told a Philadelphia judge that he should be able to stay because of his standing as an important educational figure in the U.S., whose influence led supporters to establish “more than 120” charter schools.

    H. Ronald Klasko, a Philadelphia-based lawyer who represented Gulen in the immigration trial, said via e-mail that he doesn’t recall any mention of the charter schools but that if they were included, “it was a very minor part of the presentation.”
    Harmony Schools

    For many U.S. families, the schools Turkey accuses of having subversive connections have won praise for their performance. Houston-based Harmony Public Schools has won national awards for its science education, for example, and graduation and college acceptance rates are higher than the average public school.

    "For almost two decades, Texas families have entrusted their children with us, so let me reiterate: Harmony Public Schools has no affiliation of any kind with any religious or social organizations or movements," said Soner Tarim, CEO of Harmony Public Schools, in a statement.

    Florida officials are deciding whether to open a formal probe into River City Science Academy in Jacksonville, which has received high marks from parents and the community.
    ‘Strong Reputation’

    "It has a strong reputation in Jacksonville. With that said, the financial connections are concerning," Duval County Superintendent Nikolai Vitti said. The school itself has dismissed the accusations or any suggestion that it has ties to any “organization that has been accused of orchestrating the recent coup attempt in Turkey.”

    And though it hasn’t presented convincing evidence of wrong-doing, Turkey’s U.S. campaign against the schools has had an impact.

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    Umit Yapanel, who leads Magnolia Public Schools’s board of directors, told the Los Angeles Times in a Sept. 1 story that he was inspired to teach by Gulen’s philosophy. That network was challenged by Turkey’s lawyers, who sent a letter to the local school board early this year urging it to deny the charter’s application to open a school in Fremont because of alleged financial connections to Gulen.

    "This is an attempt to firm up Erdogan’s position in Turkey by discrediting opponents," Magnolia said in a statement, calling the accusation baseless.

    But Turkey’s position won out in the end. In January the Fremont Unified School District’s Board of Education rejected Magnolia’s proposal, citing struggling enrollment levels at other network schools, a failure to find a location for the school and questions about the school’s proposed budget.

    At the public hearing where the board’s report was presented, Magnolia said it was withdrawing its petition to open the school, but the board took its decision anyways. The vote was unanimous.
    To sit down with these men and deal with them as the representatives of an enlightened and civilized people is to deride ones own dignity and to invite the disaster of their treachery - General Matthew Ridgway

  7. #277
    Military Professional
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    06 Aug 03
    Innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This article came up with exactly zero proof of any Gulen or his schools wrong doing.

    I loathe foreign governments telling us to disobey our own laws. My House. My Rules.
    Last edited by Officer of Engineers; 04 Sep 16, at 15:00.

  8. #278
    Senior Contributor
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    05 Sep 06
    Aside from the content, note the subtle differences in the below texts.

    International version:

    About 40 Turkish NATO soldiers request asylum in German

    About 40 mostly high-ranking Turkish soldiers who worked at NATO facilities in Germany but were suspended after the failed coup in Turkey in July have requested asylum in Germany, news magazine Der Spiegel and broadcaster ARD reported on Saturday.

    A spokeswoman for the German interior ministry confirmed that asylum applications had been received from Turkish military personnel, but had no comment on the exact numbers. She said each application would be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

    No comment was immediately available from NATO officials.

    The reports of the asylum applications filed by Turkish soldiers in Germany came as Chancellor Angela Merkel prepared to travel to Turkey to meet President Tayyip Erdogan.

    Ties between the two NATO partners have been strained over issues including alleged spying by Turkish clerics in Germany, German concerns about Turkey's crackdown on dissidents, and Ankara's accusation that Berlin is harboring militants from the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and far-leftists of the DHKP-C.

    The report quoted officials of the German federal migration office and the interior ministry as saying that the asylum applications would be handled as all others.

    Norbert Roettgen, head of the parliamentary foreign affairs committee, told Spiegel that political considerations could not play a role in asylum cases.

    NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told a conference in November that some Turkish military officers posted to NATO in Europe had requested asylum but gave no specific numbers.

    Reuters reported in October that Turkey had fired hundreds of senior military staff serving at NATO in Europe and the United States after the coup.

    Most were recalled to Turkey, but some chose not to return, fearing reprisals.

    Greece's Supreme Court ruled this week against the extradition of eight Turkish soldiers who fled to Greece in July after the abortive coup.

    (Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Ralph Boulton)

    Turkish view:

    Germany will evaluate the asylum application of Turkish soldiers: Minister

    German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere on Feb. 3 ruled out the Turkish government’s demand to not evaluate the asylum application of 40 Turkish NATO soldiers suspected of being members of the Gülen network, believed to have orchestrated the failed July 15, 2016 coup attempt.

    Speaking to a German newspaper, de Maiziere said they will not apply “special treatment” for Turkish applicants, stressing that the regular procedures under the control of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) will be employed.

    “The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees takes its decisions alone within the framework of the law. This is undoubtedly also the case for the applications made by Turks,” he added.

    De Maiziere also said that the likelihood of the soldiers’ asylum applications turning out positive was “low,” as in 2016 only eight percent of such applications were approved. However, he noted that asylum applications from Turkey had increased over the past year.

    After the German media reported that Turkish soldiers applied to the German authorities to be granted asylum, arguing that they were innocent but would face imprisonment in Turkey, Defense Minister Fikri Işık urged Germany not to evaluate the applications of the soldiers and to return them to Turkey.

    Iranian version:

    40 Turkish NATO military personnel in Germany request asylum

    Some 40 Turkish military service personnel, mostly high-ranking ones, who were stationed at the facilities of NATO in Germany have applied for asylum in the European country, German media report.

    According to reports by the German public TV chain ARD and the Der Spiegel weekly news magazine on Saturday, citing unnamed sources, the military servicemen had been relieved from their duties earlier by Ankara on suspicions of having alleged roles in the mid-July failed military coup back in their home country against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

    Der Spiegel quoted some unnamed officials from the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) and the Federal Ministry of the Interior as saying that the case was treated as all others.

    Meanwhile, lawmaker Stephan Mayer, a senior member of the Christian Social Union (CSU) political party and spokesman for Home Affairs of CSU and the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) parliamentary group, said that it was no doubt that Berlin could not extradite these soldiers since “they would land in jail immediately” upon their arrival in Turkey.

    Furthermore, legislator Norbert Rottgen, a top CDU member and the chairman of the Bundestag's Committee on Foreign Affairs, also strongly asserted that political considerations should not play any role in the asylum procedure.

    This is reportedly the second time a group of Turkish troops request asylum in Germany. Back in November, some four months after the botched putsch, several other Turkish military personnel, who worked at the NATO headquarters in the Palatinate of Ramstein, asked for asylum. NATO at the time did not specify the exact number of the Turkish servicemen.

    In both incidents NATO officials declined to comment on the asylum cases.

    A day after the attempted coup, Greek authorities reported that eight Turkish military personnel had landed in northeastern Greece by a military chopper, requesting asylum. Ankara later strongly urged Athens, for a number of times, to send the soldiers back to Turkey, alleging that they were involved in the coup and should face prosecution upon their return to their country.

    On Thursday, however, the Greek Supreme Court rejected the Turkish government’s extradition request for the eight servicemen, including two commanders, four captains and two sergeants, a move that further angered Ankara over the issue.

    Turkey has arrested over 37,000 people and dismissed or suspended more than 100,000 others in the civil service, judiciary, police, military and elsewhere since the abortive putsch.

    German version mostly based on above Reuters article:

    Report: Turkish officers seeking asylum in Germany

    Dozens of Turkish soldiers have sought asylum in Germany for fear of Ankara's purges, according to German media. The soldiers previously served in NATO bases. The report comes ahead of Angela Merkel's trip to Ankara.

    The Turkish troopers were forced to give up their posts after the failed coup in July, news magazine "Der Spiegel" and public broadcaster ARD reported on Saturday. The suspension and the massive purges within Turkish military reportedly prompted around 40 soldiers, most of them officers, to apply for asylum in Germany. Last month, a US general said that 150 NATO officers lost their job. Most of them were recalled to Turkey, but some chose not to return.

    According to the media, German authorities have failed to provide an official response to asylum seekers for several months.

    "If I go back to Turkey, I risk being arrested or even tortured," one of the officers told "Der Spiegel."

    While Ankara has presented the purge as a push against the rouge elements behind the coup, the soldiers interviewed by the magazine claim that the government has other motives.

    "Believe me, I have no sympathy for those involved in the coup," one of them told the reporters. "Those people need to be punished, they have destroyed our lives as well."

    'Purely judicial matter'

    Another officer says that the strongman Recep Tayyip Erdogan wants to eliminate pro-western soldiers from the armed forces.

    "The solders targeted by the purges have something in common - we are successful, pro-western, and support secularism."

    Commenting on the asylum applications, senior German lawmaker Norbert Röttgen said the issue would be treated independently from political pressures.

    "The asylum process in a purely judicial matter, political expectations cannot and will not play a role," said Röttgen, who is the head of the parliamentary foreign affairs committee.

    The report comes at an awkward time for Berlin, as Angela Merkel is preparing for a diplomatic visit to Turkey and a meeting with Erdogan next week. The ties between the two countries have been deteriorating for years.

    Turkey is also the key player in the deal to hold back refugee influx from reaching Europe. Just yesterday, Turkey threatened punitive measures against Greece for Athens' refusal to extradite a separate group of Turkish soldiers. Other NATO states are expected to soon face similar dilemmas with their own groups of coup suspects.

  9. #279
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    05 Sep 06
    Now that Merkel is back from her Turkey trip we can pull off the gloves apparently, just in time for announced election campaign visits of Turkish politicians...

    Germany investigates possible anti-Gulen spies

    German police have raided apartments of four men suspected of carrying out espionage on behalf of the Turkish government. The men, said to be clerics, are accused of spying on supporters of cleric Fethullah Gulen.

    German authorities said on Wednesday that they had raided the apartments of four imams suspected of spying on opponents of the Turkish government.

    The Federal Public Prosecutor's Office (GBA) said the raids, in the states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate, were to find evidence. No arrests were made.

    The GBA said the imams were believed to have given information to a Turkish diplomatic mission about followers of the cleric Fethullah Gulen. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused US-based Gulen of instigating a failed military coup in July last year, and has launched a crackdown on his supporters inside Turkey.

    "The individuals are suspected of having collected information about members of the so-called Gulen movement and passed it on to the general consulate in Cologne," the GBA said.

    Gulen - who was close to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan before their relationship turned sour - has condemned the coup attempt, while acknowledging some of his supporters may have participated.

    The GBA said in a statement that the clerics were believed to have acted on an order issued by the Turkish based religious authority Diyanet last September. That order requested "detailed reports" on pro-Gulen organizations, including small community groups.

    Ankara's influence 'clear'

    German Justice Minister Heiko Maas said the four men were members of Ditib, Germany's largest association of mosques. The group brings imams from Turkey to serve Germany's Turkish community, which numbers some three million people.

    "It is very clear that the influence of the Turkish state on Ditib is big," said Maas in a statement. "The association must plausibly disengage itself from Ankara."

    An Austrian, Green party lawmaker this week claimed that Turkish diplomats were enlisting Turkish religious organizations in Austria to undermine Gulen supporters there. Parliamentarian Peter Pilz said his team was working on documents to show the practice was even more widespread, spanning some 30 countries across Europe, Africa and Asia.

    rc/jm (AP, Reuters)
    Authorities originally filed for arrest orders for the four in January, which were denied by a judge. They then waited until now to search their homes on the warrants the same judge gave them back then. Accusations are for espionage, which under German law as such is only possible if you're working for an intelligence service - meaning Germany just classified Diyanet as an intelligence service.

    The whole thing came about after the religious affairs ombudsman of the Greens, Volker Beck, handed over various reports to police which supposedly included correspondence between the imams and Turkish consulates and between the consulates and Diyanet, hence implying a whistleblower somewhere in the Turkish ambassadorial service in Germany.
    The action was preceded by earlier accusations in public going up the same alley during the last couple weeks of 2016 and then a couple pawns sacrificed by DITIB in January, as well as political pressure at various levels on Turkey and DITIB to disconnect DITIB from Diyanet.


    Turkish news from yesterday:

    The office for the BfV in North Rhine-Westphalia announced that after the investigation they found no evidence linking the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DİTİB) with spies. In January, the German Kölner Stadt Anziger daily claimed that DİTİB imams had acted as informants against members of the FETÖ terrorist organization, which has been blamed for the July 15 failed coup attempt. A German paper reported that spying allegations against the imams have expanded as it emerged that five Turkish religious teachers were profiled by the imams. This issue was also raised by German Chancellor Angela Merkel during her visit to Ankara in early February. The DİTİB made the statement about the incident following a visit to Turkey by German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Feb. 2, saying they did not accept the accusations of spying but they did decide to take measures to prevent similar incidents in the future. However, the BfV in North Rhine-Westphalia found no evidence to link the DİTİB with spying allegations. Ralf Jaeger, the interior minister of North-Rhine Westphalia, said last week that the DİTİB has no connection with the spying allegations. Jaeger pointed out that reports on "spying activity" differed in quality and quantity from each other.
    Which reads pretty funny when you consider that only 12 hours after that was published the homes of the four imams were raided.

    The higher-class analysis of that Turkish article though would be that they're talking about "the BfV in North Rhine-Westphalia" as if that's a state agency there, possibly reporting to that minister mentioned. It's a federal agency though and simply located there. The state has its own domestic intelligence service which runs the investigations as part of its counter-espionage duties. Of course the BfV does not have evidence. It's not investigating the case after all.
    LfV NRW supposedly has copies of relevant correspondence from all general consulates of Turkey in the state, indicting 13 imams involved with giving reports on Gülen group members to Diyanet through them directed through the religious affairs officers of the consulates.
    Last edited by kato; 15 Feb 17, at 19:09.

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