BERLIN (AFP) — A German state minister on Tuesday, March 28, accused Turkey of “unacceptable” spying on alleged followers of exiled preacher Fethullah Gulen, whom President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blames for a failed coup attempt last year.
“It is notable with what intensity and ruthlessness the people living abroad are being investigated,” said Boris Pistorius, interior minister of the northern German state of Lower Saxony.
“It’s intolerable and unacceptable,” he said at a press conference.
Ankara had asked Berlin to help spy on about 300 alleged Gulen supporters, Pistorius said, adding that the list was handed to Germany’s spy service, which turned it over to state governments.
But Pistorius’s state decided instead to inform the more than 10 targets, including a school and at least two companies, fearing people could suffer “retaliation” if they travelled to Turkey while unaware they were on a watch list.
Turkish authorities were acting with “something close to paranoia,” he said, adding that “all Gulen supporters are assumed to be terrorists and enemies of the state even though there is not the tiniest scrap of evidence.”