Some interpreters, interviewers and security personnel within the Germany’s federal immigration authority (BAMF) are accused of leaking information regarding Turkish asylum claimants to the media outlets close to the President Recep Erdogan’s government in Turkey.
A number of recent Turkish asylum claimants in Germany have been defamed as terrorist in the Turkish media shortly after their refugee hearings by BAMF and domestic intelligence agencies launched investigation into at least two such cases, German media said.
Pro-Erdogan media outlets reported on even the locations of those refugee claimants and intelligence suspect that such information could be obtained only from within BAMF.
Turkish government has launched a sweeping crackdown against all opposition circles in the aftermath of the July 15, 2016 failed coup. More than 55,000 people were arrested at home and thousands of others have fled Turkey to seek refuge elsewhere.
German media said BAMF stopped working with 15 freelance interpreters over violations of the duty to neutrality but it is unknown whether the action was taken as part of the leakage scandal in Turkish cases.
Teacher in tears following three-hour hearing by Turkish BAMF official
Fuat Balci, a teacher and a former member of an association, linked to the Gulen movement, described being reduced to tears during a three-hour hearing by a Turkish BAMF official, according to a Der Spiegel article, translated by Deutsche Welle.
Escaped Turkey where his fellow friends were allegedly tortured after the failed putsch, Balci likened his hearing in Germany to a “cross-examination by a Turkish state prosecutor.” While Balci was ultimately granted asylum, BAMF the official would no longer be deployed for hearings of Turkish citizens. However, BAMF also rejected any suggestion that the official had been biased.
Erkin Erdogan, executive committee member of the German branch of the Peoples’ Democratic Congress (HDK), an alliance of liberal Turkish political movements and organizations, told Deutsche
Welle that he knew of “several cases” where translators working for BAMF had made “major changes” to statements made by asylum seekers at their hearings.