German MP charges she was targeted by Turkish spies

A German lawmaker said Wednesday she was on a list of Turkish espionage targets, charging that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government had “clearly crossed a line”.

German prosecutors are probing claims that Turkey’s MIT service has been spying on 300 alleged followers of exiled preacher Fethullah Gulen, whom Erdogan blames for a failed coup attempt last year.

“These measures by the Turkish government once more show the attempt to suppress critical views,” said Social Democratic MP Michelle Muentefering, 37, in a statement.

Turkish intelligence was interested in the deputy chair of the parliamentary commission for German-Turkish relations because of her good relations with some Gulen supporters, media reports said.

In her job, she said, “I stand for dialogue and clear language, with the most varied and difficult dialogue partners at home and abroad,” adding that the spying “clearly crossed a line”.

Relations between NATO allies Germany and Turkey have been strained by disputes centred on human rights issues, especially since last July’s failed coup and a subsequent crackdown on alleged conspirators.

More than 41,000 people in Turkey have been arrested over suspected links to Gulen’s movement, and 100,000 fired or suspended from their jobs. Many of them are teachers, police, magistrates and journalists.

Boris Pistorius, interior minister of the German state of Lower Saxony, said on Tuesday that Erdogan’s government had asked Berlin to help spy on about 300 alleged Gulen supporters in Germany.

He said the list was handed to Germany’s BND spy service, which turned it over to state governments.


© Agence France-Presse