Michael Hornsby, Berlin
According to reports published in Süddeutsche Zeitung today, Turkey’s top spy may have inadvertently presented his German counterpart with evidence which can be used against Turkish agents operating in Germany.
The report states that at the Munich Security Conference in February, Hakan Fidan, head of Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MIT), presented Bruno Kahl, head of the German Federal Intelligence Service (BND), with a list of over 300 individuals and 200 organizations confirmed or suspected of being supporters of Fethullah Gülen, a Turkish cleric living in exile in the USA. Turkey accuses Gülen of orchestrating the July 15 coup attempt in Turkey and has issued a warrant for his arrest. However Kahl recently told Der Spiegel that Germany is unconvinced by Turkey’s assertion that the Gülen organization was behind last summer’s attempted coup.
The dossier included names, addresses, contact information and surveillance photographs. Rather than use the list to investigate the Gülen organization as Fidan had hoped, the information was forwarded to Germany’s domestic security agency. German authorities then warned some individuals on the list that they should reconsider any planned trips to Turkey, or visits to Turkish diplomatic missions abroad.
The German media reports that prosecutors there have already been investigating people connected to DITIB, a network of Turkish-Islamic foundations in Germany, over possible links to Turkish intelligence-gathering operations. The covertly gathered information in the dossier handed by Fidan to Kahl offers the Germans evidence on a ‘silver platter’ according to Süddeutsche Zeitung.