• Germany's news in English

'Turkish spies' hunted govt critics in Germany

The Local · 9 Sep 2015, 14:21

Published: 09 Sep 2015 14:21 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Prosecutors allege that the three men assembled information on critics of the Turkish government from the start of 2013 to the end of 2014.

Ahmet Duran Y. (59) and Göksel G. (34) spied on Kurdish activists and collected information on opposition figures living in Germany and delivered it to their superior Muhammed Taha Gergerlioglu (59), the prosecutors argue.

While Duran Y. Amd Göksel G. were released after their arrest in December 2014, Gergerlioglu has remained in custody throughout this period.

But on the first day of the trial Gergerlioglu's defence team denied the charges.

The defence also called for the suspension of the trial, saying the prosecution had not supplied them with all the evidence against their client, SWR reports.

Senior figure

Why Gergerlioglu has remained in custody would appear to be explained by his key position within the Turkish elite.

Spiegel reports that he was a former adviser to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and after his arrest the Turkish Consul General visited him in person.

Furthermore a lawyer called up federal prosecutors to make it clear that Gergerlioglu was an influential member of Erdogan's inner circle.

Top secret

A key piece of evidence in the trial is a "top secret“ document containing a warning of impending attacks on leading members of the Chechen exile community in Istanbul.

The document was found on Gergerlioglu's smartphone and is being used by prosecutors to build their case that he belonged to the Turkish spy agency, Milli Istihbarat Teskilat (MIT).

A further 34 documents and 112 photos showing pictures of passports belonging to Turks, Kazakhs, Britons, Syrians and Libyans were also found on his phone.

Investigators believe that the passports belong to political opponents of Erdogan.

Prosecutors also produced a taped telephone conversation in which Gergerlioglu talks about the inner working of the Turkish intelligence services.

The Turkish government has denied that the three men worked for its intelligence agency.

Story continues below…

No James Bonds

While Gergerlioglu himself seems to be an established figure in Ankara, the men he chose to form his cell are less obvious spy material, reports Spiegel.

Göksel G.'s official job was as a joiner, but his company appears to have had solvency problems and his family survived on his wife's income as a carer.

Duran Y. meanwhile ran a travel agency, and after 40 years in Germany could still barely speak the language. He had a previous criminal record for dealing in drugs and counterfeit money.

The information the men gathered appears to have been fairly insubstantial, consisting mainly of overheard conversations at political rallies.

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Munich to get 'nice toilets' to serve cross-legged locals
Photo: DPA

The Bavarian capital has a pee problem - the city only has one public toilet for every 13,000 inhabitants. But a new plan could rescue desperate locals, the Süddeutsche Zeitung reports.

German kids get glowing report for their English skills
Photo: DPA.

As if multilingual Germans don't already put many English-speakers to shame, now the younger generation is improving their English skills even more.

Berlin museum controversially recreates Hitler bunker
The reconstruction of the Hitler bunker. Photo: DPA

Sensationalized or compelling history? Berlin museums clash over new Nazi bunker exhibit

Germans think they're fit, but they're really couch potatoes
Photo: DPA.

There's been an increase in the number of Germans who define themselves as "fit", but their lifestyle choices don't quite match this self-perception.

10 fascinating facts you never knew about German beer
Tennis coach Boris Becker and his wife Lilly at Oktoberfest 2016 in Munich. Photo: DPA

From malt and monks to Radlers and rivalries, the story of German beer is as rich and wonderful as its selection.

Intensive farming 'endangers a third of German species'
Photo: DPA

There are 32,000 species of animal, plant and mushroom life native to Germany. Due to intensive farming methods, one in every three of these is endangered, a new report shows.

German hospital uses therapy to 'treat' paedophiles
A poster from the campaigne "Don't offend", which offers therapy to paedophiles. The sign reads "Do you love kids more than you'd prefer? There's help." Photo: DB Scholz & Friends / DPA.

A unique German initiative is offering therapy to paedophiles to control their urges, with the aim of getting them help before they offend.

Minister: 'no tolerance' for clowns after chainsaw attack
Photo: DPA

Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière has called for a zero-tolerance approach to 'killer clowns' after a series of attacks culminating in two teenagers being chased by a clown wielding a chainsaw.

Baby who was auctioned on eBay taken away from father
Photo: DPA.

A German court ruled on Thursday that a man who put his one-month-old baby up for sale on the online auction platform eBay should only be allowed contact with the child under supervision.

Portugal's ruling party calls German minister 'pyromaniac'
Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble. Photo: DPA.

The head of Portugal's ruling Socialists called German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble a "pyromaniac" on Thursday after he criticized Lisbon for reversing course on austerity.

10 German clichés that foreigners get very wrong
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
10 ways German completely messes up your English
Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd