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Fethullah Gulen
Image: Reuters/C. Mostoller

Turkey asks for help of Germany's BND

Chase Winter
August 20, 2016

Turkey has asked German intelligence to help in its crackdown on the Gulen movement. The request comes as Turkey accuses the West of not doing enough against schools, charities and businesses tied to the movement.


The Turkish government has asked Germany's BND intelligence agency to help round up supporters of the Gulen movement, which Ankara blames for orchestrating last month's failed coup attempt, "Der Spiegel" reported on Saturday.

Citing classified documents, Spiegel said Turkey's MIT intelligence agency requested the BND search 40 people and extradite another three for links to the Gulen movement, which runs a global network of schools, charities and businesses.

Since the July 15 failed coup attempt, Turkey has arrested and purged thousands of people in the military, the bureaucracy, universities, civil society, the media and the business sector who are believed to have ties to the shadowy movement led by the US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen.

The Turkish government considers the movement a terror organization and accuses it of infiltrating the state over several decades.

According to Spiegel, MIT also asked its German counterpart to influence policymakers and lawmakers to take a tougher stand against the Gulen movement. Turkish diplomats have also reportedly approached 11 German states to request cooperation, but all rejected a demand for the local BND branches to monitor the movement.

Germany is home to about three million people of Turkish origin, and officials have voiced concern that Turkey is meddling in its domestic affairs. There are also mounting worries that the conflict in Turkey is spilling over into Germany.

Supporters of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan have staged pro-government rallies, called for the boycotting of Gulen-linked organizations, and there are reports of threats against sympathizers of the movement.

Turkey has accused Europe and the United States of taking a soft stance against the Gulen movement in the wake of the coup, in which the plotters bombed the Turkish parliament, killed more than 200 people and almost assassinated Erdogan.

The scale of the Turkish government's purge has raised concern in Western capitals of a witch hunt that extends beyond the coup plotters in an attempt to squash all opposition in the country.

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