Germany probes Turk suspected of spying on Erdogan critics

German authorities arrested the suspect, identified as Ali D., in a Duesseldorf hotel on September 17 after an employee noticed a weapon on him, prosecutors said in a statement.  — Reuters pic
German authorities arrested the suspect, identified as Ali D., in a Duesseldorf hotel on September 17 after an employee noticed a weapon on him, prosecutors said in a statement. — Reuters pic

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BERLIN, Oct 1 — German federal prosecutors said today they were investigating a Turkish national on suspicion of spying on dissidents for Turkey’s secret services.

The suspect, identified as Ali D., was arrested in a Duesseldorf hotel on September 17 after an employee noticed a weapon on him, prosecutors said in a statement. 

They said there were indications that Ali D. was collecting information on supporters “of the so-called Gulen movement” living in and around the city of Cologne “in order to pass it on to the Turkish MIT intelligence service”. 

The US-based Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen is a longtime foe of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Ali D. also stands accused of a weapons violation after a police search of his hotel room turned up 200 rounds of ammunition, prosecutors added.

Turkey accuses Gulen of masterminding a failed coup in 2016 that left hundreds dead and thousands more injured.

Since 2016, Turkey has arrested tens of thousands of people suspected to have links to Gulen.

According to German newspaper Tagesspiegel, local authorities in North Rhine-Westphalia state, home to the cities of Duesseldorf and Cologne, believe it’s possible an attack was being planned on Gulen supporters.

Federal prosecutors have taken over the investigation from the Duesseldorf prosecution office, as is standard procedure in cases of suspected foreign agent activity. — AFP

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