Germany Refuses Turkey’s Request to Spy on Opponents of Erdogan

Süddeutsche Zeitung said the list was given to Bruno Kahl, head of Germany’s foreign intelligence service, by his Turkish counterpart at the annual Munich Security Conference last month.

On Tuesday, the German interior minister, Thomas de Maizière, showed little surprise at those reports. While not explicitly confirming them, he made it clear that Turkey’s request had been rebuffed and would continue to be.

“Germany will not tolerate foreign agencies spying on its territory,” Mr. de Maizière said on Tuesday.

“Espionage activities on German territory are punishable by law and are not tolerated,” he told reporters during a visit to Passau in southern Germany. “That applies to every foreign state and every intelligence agency.”

“We have already told Turkey several times that such things don’t work,” Mr. de Maizière added. “Independently of how one stands on the Gulen movement, it is German law which applies here and citizens who live here are not spied on here by foreign agencies.”

Mr. Kahl told the newsmagazine Der Spiegel that “Turkey has tried on the most different levels to convince us” that Gulen supporters are at work in Germany. “But it has not succeeded up till now,” he said.

In fact, rather than pursuing the request, German authorities have warned some Turks living in Germany that they may face difficulties in Turkey after being identified by the Turkish government as Gulen supporters.


Turkish citizens living in Germany lined up outside the Turkish Consulate in Berlin on Monday to cast their votes in the referendum.

Sean Gallup/Getty Images

The reports were the latest example of perceived Turkish intrusions in Europe, where Mr. Erdogan has been criticized for exploiting the openness of Western…

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