Spying on Turkish nationals globally

Spying on Turkish Nationals Globally


'Kindly send us names and quotes insulting our president': Ankara's Consulate asks Dutch citizens


Turkey's General Consulate in Rotterdam has called on Turkish nationals in the Netherlands to report on Ankara's and President Erdogan's critics, Dutch media reported.

Ankara's office has reportedly emailed a number of Turkish organizations in the European country, urging their employees to warn the consulate of any "insulting" messages received via personal online accounts.

Turkey's Consulate General to Rotterdam asks Turks in Netherlands to be informer about people who insult Erdogan! by https://twitter.com/csagir2015
According to the letter shared on Twitter, it said:

"To whom it may concern,
If you or the employees working in your NGO or their relatives or the people around you received messages from people who are insulting our president, the Turkish nation or Turkey in general in to your mailboxes or social media accounts, we would kindly ask you to send the names and the quotes that they put to the mail address of our Rotterdam Consulate General."

The campaign is "aimed against everything that's being shared on Twitter, Facebook and even in private emails," Dutch freelance journalist and author Frederike Geerdink told RT, adding that Ankara's move has "immediately caused big discussion in Holland."

"Politicians in Holland worry, they say this is what in Holland is called 'the long arm of Ankara,' meaning that the government in Ankara tries to get a grip on their diaspora communities" in various European countries, including Germany, Britain, Belgium, and now in the Netherlands, Geerdink said.

"They try to influence how Dutch Turks behave," she added, saying that the European officials "will talk with the Consulate about this and express their worries." There will be a debate on the matter in the parliament as well, the journalist told RT.

On Wednesday, the Dutch government announced its plans to scrap legislation which makes insulting a friendly head of state a criminal offense, Dutch News reported.

Following the Consulate's call, Ankara's consul should be called to The Hague to explain it, the Dutch news source reported, citing an MP from the country's right-wing VNL party. "Turkey needs to be reminded of the right to freedom of speech," Joram van Klaveren was quoted as saying.

There has been no official comment from the Turkish Consulate. When it was approached by Dutch journalists asking as of what the information the officials were aiming to receive would be used for, "the Consulate played it down saying there is not much to worry about, [as they] only want to make an inventory of what is being said in Holland," Geerdink told RT.

Write a filthy poem about Turkish President Erdogan, win £1,000! – Spectator (CENSORED) http://on.rt.com/7am7 by https://twitter.com/RTUKnews
While the state of freedom of speech and expression in Turkey has been questioned by a number of international organizations and governments in recent months, Ankara also aims to control of what's being said about its president in other countries. Recently, Turkey reportedly tried to pressurize Germany into removing a satirical clip aired by a German broadcaster criticizing President Erdogan. In a separate episode, the Turkish leader has submitted a personal complaint against another German comedian for libel.

Article posted at https://www.rt.com/news/340541-turkey-netherlands-critics-report/

Germany to investigate claims of ‘intolerable’ spying by Turkey

By Agence France-Presse on The Guardian

A man heading to the Turkish consulate in Berlin to vote for the Turkish referendum.
The claims Erdoğan’s agents are spying on supporters of exiled preacher Fethullah Gülen open new front in the diplomatic row between the two countries.

German prosecutors have announced an investigation into claims that Turkish agents are spying on alleged followers of exiled preacher Fethullah Gülen in Germany.

News of the inquiry came as a German state minister accused Turkey of “intolerable and unacceptable” espionage against supporters of Gülen, blamed by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for a failed coup attempt last year.

The claims open a new front in the diplomatic row between the two Nato allies, whose relationship has been strained by a series of disputes centred on human rights issues.

“It is clear that the Turkish secret intelligence service, MIT, is investigating people living in Germany,” said Boris Pistorius, the interior minister of the northern German state of Lower Saxony, deploring the “intensity and ruthlessness” of Turkey’s pursuit of Turks living abroad.

“It’s intolerable and unacceptable,” he said at a press conference.

Erdoğan’s government had asked Berlin to help spy on about 300 alleged Gülen supporters, Pistorius said, adding that the list was handed to Germany’s BND spy service, which turned it over to state governments.

But Pistorius’s state decided to inform the more than 10 targets in Lower Saxony, including a school and at least two companies, fearing people could suffer retaliation if they travelled to Turkey while unaware they were on a watch list.

Turkish authorities were acting with “something close to paranoia”, he said, adding that “all Gülen supporters are assumed to be terrorists and enemies of the state even though there is not the tiniest scrap of evidence”.

“As of today, we have no evidence whatsoever that Gülen supporters have violated any rules in any way.”

According to German media, Turkish officials handed the target list including names, addresses, telephone numbers and photographs to their German counterparts during the Munich security conference in February.

Federal prosecutors will examine how Turkey compiled such detailed information on their targets.

“The success of our investigation will depend largely on the information shared with us by German counter-espionage agencies,” spokeswoman Frauke Koehler said about the investigation into “persons unknown”.

Meanwhile, the German interior minister, Thomas de Maizière, warned Turkey against spying in Germany, saying “espionage activities on German soil is punishable by law and will not be tolerated by us”.

Although Gülen, a 75-year-old cleric living in the US, has denied charges that he was involved in the failed coup last July to overthrow Erdoğan, Ankara has cracked down on the preacher’s followers.

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

In February, German police raided the homes of four Turkish Muslim preachers suspected of spying on alleged Gülen supporters for Erdoğan’s government.

Erdoğan has in turn accused Germany of harbouring Kurdish and other “terrorists”, claiming that Berlin is refusing to hand over alleged suspects.

Separately, the foreign ministries in Sweden and Denmark have called in Turkey’s envoys over claims of Turkish spying on opposition figures living in the Scandinavian countries.

Germany’s foreign intelligence chief, Bruno Kahl, drew Ankara’s ire last week when he said he did not believe that Gülen was behind the failed coup.

Berlin has emerged as a strident critic of Ankara’s post-coup crackdown, and is also urging Turkey to release a correspondent for the German daily Die Welt, who is jailed on terror charges.

Ankara has been riled by German authorities’ refusal to allow some Turkish ministers to campaign in the country for a yes vote before the 16 April referendum on giving Erdoğan the powers of an executive presidency.

Article posted at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/28/germany-accuses-turkey-of-intolerable-spying-on-gulen-supporters

Accused of obstructing authorities, Turkish academic thrown in jail, denied bail

By Ida Lim on Malaymail Online

Turkish academic Ismet Ozcelik, 57, is shown here during his arrest on December 13, 2016 after Immigration officers seized his passport, despite him having a valid social visit pass for entry into Malaysia.
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 6 — A visiting director of a Turkish university has been stuck in the Sungai Buloh Prison for the past 25 days for allegedly obstructing civil servants from carrying out their duty.

Lawyers for Ismet Ozcelik are now seeking the renewal of his social visit pass in order to secure his release from prison for an offence that he has yet to undergo trial or convicted for.

Muhammad Faizal Faiz Hasani, one of Ismet’s lawyers, today told Malay Mail Online that he had met with the prosecution and the magistrate yesterday to brief them on his client’s two letters to the prison authorities.

According to Muhammad Faizal, the Magistrate’s Court here had denied Ismet bail after yesterday’s discussion because the Immigration Department had cancelled his social visit pass just a day after his arrest on December 13 last year.

“Ismet needs to get DG Immigration to re-validate his visit pass and ascertain why Immigration cancelled the pass. If it is at the request of Turkish Embassy, why and on what grounds.

“The magistrate may let us have his passport for a few days to renew with Immigration if we so request; the magistrate will only release Ismet on bail after his social visit pass is renewed,” he said when describing the court’s views on the matter.

“Meantime, Ismet will deteriorate in prison without medication,” he added.

Muhammad Faizal said Ismet has had “limited” access to his family members and lawyers since his December detention, also confirming that the legal team had today initiated efforts to seek the revalidation and renewal of Ismet’s social visit pass.

Ismet’s lawyers said the arrest, prosecution and detention of their client is wrongful, and are now seeking to prevent him from being kept locked up in the Sungai Buloh prison for up to two months before his case even goes on trial.

In a January 5 letter to the courts sighted by Malay Mail Online, Ismet’s lawyers said court should grant an order to compel the prison to produce the 57-year-old man with heart ailments in court and release him, with bail already paid.

“Based on the urgent conditions stated above, we have been instructed to ensure Ismet is released on bail. This will allow Ismet to obtain treatment immediately so his health can be restored in order to not affect the image of the Sungai Buloh prison, the courts and any government agencies.

“For your information, Ismet’s guarantor has already completed bail payment of RM4,000.00 on 4 January 2017 and we apply to the Magistrate’s Court to issue OTP on Ismet on 5 or 6 January 2017,” the letter read, referring to the Order to Produce.

According to the letter, Ismet, who is a member of Turkey’s Universiti Mevlana’s board of directors, has no involvement in any political movements or any criminal records in any country.

Ismet’s lawyers said their client had entered the country legally and holds a valid social visit pass expiring only on November 17 this year to visit his son Suheyl, who is a doctorate holder and part of Time International School’s teaching staff.

Plainclothes officers tried to seize passport

In tracing the events that led to Ismet being locked up, the letter said a group of men in plainclothes had on December 13 visited Suheyl’s house here claiming to be officers from the Immigration Department.

“The men in plainclothes tried to take away Ismet’s passport,” the letter said, adding that Ismet had sought the aid of his son and other teachers from the international school, with Suheyl contacting the police to verify the men’s identities.

“Instead, when the police arrived, the men in plainclothes claimed that Ismet, Suheyl, and three other staff of Time International School had obstructed them from carrying out their public duties,” the letter said.

This resulted in the arrest of the five, who were later charged on December 23 under Section 353 of the Penal Code for the offence of using criminal force to deter a public servant from discharging his duty, punishable with a maximum two-year jail term or a fine or both.

All of them were later released on bail except for Ismet despite this being a bailable offence, as the prosecution was of the view that he cannot be bailed, his lawyers said.

They added that Ismet is currently being kept in conditions that may jeopardise his health. No trial date has been set and his case is only scheduled for mention on February 20.

“This means, if Ismet is not released on bail, he will continue to be in detention for two months until the upcoming mention date. That detention period will be even longer if OTP is not issued to release Ismet,” the lawyers said in the letter.

Medication denied

The letter cited two of the lawyers’ previous letters dated December 30 and January 4 to Sungai Buloh prison director Abd Kadir Rais, which had pointed out Ismet’s heart ailments and need to take medications from Turkey.

The lawyers said the prison’s medical officers had confiscated Ismet’s medicines and had disallowed medical checks on Ismet to allow him to either consume the seized medication from Turkey or replacement medication from Malaysia.

In the December 30, 2016 letter to the prison authorities, Ismet was described as having been diagnosed since March 29 with various medical conditions including hypertension and other forms of chronic ischemic heart disease. He has been prescribed medication to be taken thrice a day for a year.

The letter to the prison had also sought additional visits for Ismet’s wife Hatice Ozcelik and son Suheyl, citing Ismet’s health condition and his need for an interpreter as he can only speak in the Turkish language.

According to the letter, his son is fluent in Bahasa Malaysia and will be able to help his father overcome the language barrier and facilitate communication with prison authorities.

Article posted at http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/accused-of-obstructing-authorities-turkish-academic-thrown-in-jail-denied-b