Following attacks and threats against Gülen movement sympathizers by Turks across Europe, a French court has handed down verdicts punishing two men for vandalizing an educational institution and sending death threats, the TR724 news portal reported on Friday.

A man known only by the initials M.Y., who several times attacked educational and cultural centers managed by Gülen movement sympathizers, claimed that he was threatened by somebody who came to a mosque run by the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DITIB), the overseas arm of Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate. However, the judge sentenced M.Y. to four months’ imprisonment, four months’ probation and 23,000 euros for the damage he caused.

Another man referred to the initials O.K. sent death threats to Gülen movement sympathizer M.K. on July 16 and 17, saying that people who kill people like M.K. would be rewarded both by the state and by God. He also told the Gülen sympathizer not to feel safe just because he lives in Europe.

Although O.K. insisted that somebody else had used his phone to send the texts, he was given a four months suspended sentence.

In September, President Erdoğan said, “No country, no region anywhere in the world, is a safe haven for FETÖ [an acronym the government has been using to refer to the Gülen movement] and militants,” during a press conference in İstanbul, in addition to his regular targeting of Gülen sympathizers.

Germany arrests Turkish citizen on spying charges

A 31-year-old Turkish citizen has been arrested in Germany on charges of spying for the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) by profiling Kurds in Germany.

A man known only by the initials M.S. was reportedly arrested on Thursday in Hamburg. The German prosecutor involved in the case released a statement saying that the man had collected information on locations, contacts and political activities of Kurds in Germany on behalf of the Turkish intelligence agency.

Last year a former advisor of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Muhammed Taha Gergerlioğlu, was detained on espionage charges in Germany and was being tried in a court of law. Gergerlioğlu and two other Turkish citizens, Ahmet Duran Y. and Göksel G., were held in prison in Germany before they were released, allegedly due to a deal between Erdoğan and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The German Welt am Sonntag daily recently referred to the statement of a bureaucrat who spoke on condition of anonymity, claiming that nearly 6,000 people spy on the Turkish community in Germany for Turkish intelligence.

Erdoğan has often accused Germany of harboring terrorists, with the Turkish president labeling Kurds, Gülen movement sympathizers and exiled journalists who reside in Germany as terrorists and traitors.

Belgian justice minister orders close scrutiny of Diyanet mosques amid spying claims

Belgian Justice Minister Koen Geens has announced that he has ordered security and intelligence units in the country to closely monitor mosques operated by the Turkish Religious Affairs Directorate, or Diyanet, amid reports that the Diyanet asked imams to spy and inform on Belgians of Turkish origin suspected of being active in the faith-based Gülen movement.

A document dated Sept. 20, 2016 shows that Turkey’s Diyanet asked Turkish missions and religious representatives abroad to profile Gülen movement expatriates living in their respective foreign countries.

“We request that you send a detailed report about all FETÖ/PDY [a derogatory term coined by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government to refer to members of the Gülen movement] networks, activities, educational institutions [kindergartens, primary and secondary schools, faculties, dormitories, etc.] NGOs, aid organizations, human resources, associations that host cultural activities, etc., to disiliskiler@diyanet.com.tr by Sept. 27, 2016,” said a document sent to Turkish embassies, consulates and Office of Religious Services counselors, attachés, coordinators and coordinators of religious officials’ directors.

According to the document, profiling reports were asked to be ready for presentation to religious leaders who were participating in the 9th Eurasia Islamic Council, organized by the Diyanet in İstanbul on Oct. 11-14.

In the meantime, Flemish minister Liesbeth Homans has recently asked for the closure of Diyanet mosques that are involved in spying activities against the followers of the Gülen movement.

There are currently 65 mosques in Belgium operated by the Diyanet.

 

This article originally appeared in three parts in Turkish Minute, on Dec. 16. (1)

This article originally appeared in three parts in Turkish Minute, on Dec. 16. (2)

This article originally appeared in three parts in Turkish Minute, on Dec. 16. (3)