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Turkish Intelligence has new tactics to spy on Gulen followers

According to the TR724, Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MIT) has put a new plan into action to infiltrate the Gulen Movement and espionage on the sympathizers of the Movement and its activities abroad.

MIT wanted these informants disguised as sympathizers of the movement so they could easily spy on the followers and their activities in the movement. This was not new for the movement, but it is difficult to know who is in such circumstances. Before the staged July 15 coup attempt, these types of espionage were reportedly used against the followers of the Movement in Turkey. Now, MIT uses the same way to spy on the movement’s sympathizers abroad. Those informants of the MIT who successfully infiltrated the movement abroad were purposefully treated in the same manner as all the other followers of the movement after the coup. These informants were also detained, imprisoned, and even tortured to keep their identities secret in order to be able to use them for future espionage operations inside the movement.

After these informants were released from the prisons, they also left Turkey as planned in the same way all other Gulenists did, and that’s why no one would suspect that something fishy was going on with them. MIT also helps these informants pass from all the checkpoints while illegally passing from the Evros river and elsewhere until they reach the place where they were assigned. Because these people stayed in prison and used the same way to leave the country as all the others did, no one suspected them, and so everyone helped them abroad and let them join all the activities of the Movement. This was the ultimate goal of MIT, and after, the informants started reporting everything about the Movement and its activities to MIT.

According to the information TR724 shared with its readers, the activities of whistleblowers and informants abroad came to light during the interrogation of a person detained in Ankara last month. The suspect, who worked as an administrator in an institution close to the Gülen Movement before July 15, 2016, was questioned about the images and information of nearly 50 people who were forced to live in Germany after the coup attempt. According to the information that TR724 reached, the images and information that the interrogator talked about can only be gathered from someone from inside. This shows that MIT still collects data with the same tactics and informants about the people affiliated with the Gulen Movement in the countries such as Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Sweden, and Switzerland.

Turkish Intelligence has new tactics to spy on Gulen followers

These type of activities at MIT is not something new. German, Austrian, and Swiss authorities opened an investigation against Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs’ (Diyanet in Turkish) imams in 2017 for doing illegal espionage activities against the opponents of Erdogan in 35 countries. According to the Independent, Diyanet asked Turkish Consulates in 35 countries, including Australia, Nigeria, Mauritania, and Mongolia, to gather information about Gulen supporters.

According to the document made public by Austrian politician Peter Pilz, Turkish embassies on four continents had submitted reports on alleged Gulen supporters after receiving a request from Ankara in September 2017. “There is clearly a global network of informants, and we cannot say exactly how long it took to build up this network. I assume that it happened in a matter of years.” Greens MP Peter Pilz said.

These types of espionage activities by MIT also happen in the US at all levels possible, and because of this, opponents fear being a target of MIT. As all will remember, ex-Trump security aide, Mike Flynn, was offered $15 million by Turkey for the illegal abduction of a Muslim cleric, Fethullah Gulen, from his residence in Pennsylvania. When the information of the meeting between Flynn and Turkish officials for a potential abduction of Gulen was leaked to Wall Street Journal, Flynn was left with no option but resignation.

As Austrian politician Peter Pilz said, the Turkish National Intelligence Organization has a global network of informants everywhere. They are tracing the followers of the Gulen movement and reporting their findings, including the names, addresses, and social media activity of alleged opponents, their activities for the Movement as well as of publishing houses, media groups, educational and cultural centers, local people, especially the politicians deemed to support the Gulen Movement to Turkey.

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Engin Yigit is a Politurco columnist, activist, and author. Follow him at @enginyigtt.

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