German prosecutors said Thursday, Dec 18 that they had arrested three Turkish men accused of spying on compatriots in Germany for Turkish intelligence, but Ankara denied that the suspects were linked to the National Intelligence Organization (MİT), Hurriyet Daily News reported.
The federal prosecutor’s office said two of the suspects – identified in line with German privacy rules only as Muhammed Taha G. and Göksel G. – were arrested Wednesday at Frankfurt airport. The third, Ahmet Duran Y., was arrested at his home in western Germany.
Muhammed Taha G. is accused of handling the other two as agents, and they collected information for him on Turks in Germany as well as their “organizational structures,” prosecutors said in a statement.
They did not elaborate or say when the alleged spying took place, but said arrest warrants were issued on Nov 11.
The suspects were ordered to be remanded in custody pending a possible indictment.
Turkish security officials, who spoke to daily Hürriyet on condition of anonymity, said the three suspects had no links to MİT or the Prime Ministry. The same sources stressed that arrests came soon after media outlets affiliated to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) alleged that the Turkish Cooperation and Development Agency (TİKA) was being used by MİT to recruit agents in Germany. They also noted that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had recently slammed the European Union regarding a Dec 14 police operation on the Gülen community in Turkey, according to the HDN.
Germany is home to a large Turkish community.
In August, Turkey summoned Germany’s ambassador and demanded an explanation over a German magazine report that Germany’s foreign intelligence agency listed Turkey, a NATO ally, as a target for intelligence gathering.
German officials refused to confirm the report, the HDN says