Turkey arrests German embassy lawyer on espionage charges

Germany Embassy TurkeyTurkish authorities have charged a lawyer working for the German embassy in Ankara with espionage, further-straining the already tense relationship between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies. German newsmagazine Der Spiegel, which reported on the arrest, did not name the lawyer, but said he is a Turkish citizen and was arrested in September.

The newsmagazine said the lawyer had been hired by the German embassy to obtain information about Turkish citizens who had applied for political asylum in Germany. German authorities would regularly give the lawyer identifying information about asylum applicants. The lawyer would then verify with Turkish police that the applicants had a blank criminal record and were not wanted for participation in criminal activity. The German embassy would then forward the information collected by the lawyer to the German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (known in Germany as BAMF), which would subsequently approve or reject the asylum applications.

Following the lawyer’s arrest by the Turkish National Intelligence Service (MİT), German authorities are concerned that the Turkish government has seized identifying information on at least 50 Turkish applicants for political asylum in Germany. Some of these applicants are reportedly members of Turkey’s persecuted Kurdish minority. Others are alleged supporters of Fethullah Gülen a United States-based former political ally of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who Turkey accuses of having orchestrated the failed 2016 military coup against Erdoğan.

The German Foreign Office has described the lawyer’s arrest as “incomprehensible” and has reportedly warned those asylum seekers affected by it that their safety may be endangered. Meanwhile, German diplomats are engaged in high-level talks with the Turkish government to secure the lawyer’s release, according to Spiegel. The effort is being led by no other than Martin Erdmann, a veteran diplomat who is serving as Germany’s ambassador to Turkey.

Author: Joseph Fitsanakis | Date: 21 November 2019 | Permalink

2 Responses to Turkey arrests German embassy lawyer on espionage charges

  1. Tomas says:

    Approximately 599 lawyers have been arrested and detained, 1546 lawyers prosecuted, and 311 lawyers convicted and sentenced to a total of 1,967 years in prison. Lawyers have been prosecuted in mass trials of, for example, 322 and 110 lawyers per trial. Approximately 4,260 judges and prosecutors have been dismissed; many have been arrested and detained; and 634 judges and prosecutors have been convicted on terrorism charges. Approximately 500 administrative personnel of the Supreme Court, Council of State, Court of Accounts, and Council of Judges and Prosecutors have also been dismissed. There is a lack of due process and no effective remedy to appeal decisions of dismissals made by the State of Emergency Inquiry Commission. At least 14 presidents and former presidents of 12 provincial Bar Associations have been arrested or detained. Emergency decree laws have closed down 34 lawyers’ associations in 20 different provinces. Many Bar Associations have experienced interference with their independence and admissions procedures, as well as had assets seized without compensation or adequate justification.

  2. Seth says:

    Sounds like the German’s were using a third party to check German immigrants (Turkish nationals) (to include asylum seekers) for criminal records.This is not unusual for EU government to do this. What makes me wonder is why Germany and Turkey have not negotiated a law enforcement memorandum to share this information. I can only speculate that the Turkish government likely did not want to cooperate with the German authorities due to tensions in their relationship or German law prohibited the sharing of information with the government and were forced to engage these checks in this manner. I doubt this has anything to with real spying.

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