German police on Feb. 15 raided the apartments of four imams suspected of conducting espionage on behalf of the Turkish government against followers of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, which Ankara accuses of organizing the failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.
The campaign for the referendum on April 16 is under way in Turkey. The parliament in Ankara gave the green light in mid-January for a constitutional amendment that could see the introduction of a presidential system in Turkey. With the help of votes from the far-right MHP, the ruling AKP achieved the majority it needed to hold a referendum on the reform. What would a presidential system mean for Turkey?
Police in Germany have carried out searches at the homes of four imams who are members of the Turkish-Islam Union in Germany (Ditib) on suspicions that they were spying on supporters of the Gülen movement and passing on the information to the Turkish Consulate General. Europe must not stand by and watch as democracy is dismantled in Turkey and must take a tougher line with the Ankara-controlled organisation, commentators demand.
Accusations of espionage against Turkish imams in Germany stemmed from a “defamation campaign” that was tied to the political climate ahead of elections in the country, Turkey’s top religious official has said.
One leader of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party was sentenced to five months in jail, and the other was expelled from Parliament.