The German federal parliament’s (Bundestag) internal affairs committee held a closed session on Nov. 27 to discuss the arrest of a lawyer hired by the German Embassy in the Turkish capital Ankara, Deutsche Welle Turkish reported.
Turkish lawyer Yılmaz S. was arrested in mid-September on charges of “espionage.” He is reportedly being held in Ankara’s Sincan prison. The lawyer had been hired by the German Embassy to provide documents related to Turkish citizens who had applied for asylum in Germany, German media previously reported.
Deutsche Welle said that according to German authorities, when the lawyer was arrested on Sept. 17, he had with him files of 47 asylum applications, including information on 83 people as some of the applicants had gone to Germany with their relatives.
Lars Castellucci, an MP from the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), said at the closed session on Nov. 27 that the German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) had granted protection in 27 of the asylum application cases amid fears that asylum seekers’ files reached the Turkish intelligence service, Deutsche Welle said.
“Since a negligence happened in the process on our side, we have to deal with it in a responsible way,” Castellucci was quoted as saying during the session.
Filiz Polat, a German MP from the Alliance ’90/The Greens, said that the lawyer had so far looked into a total of 283 asyum application files. One of these files was submitted by the former Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Leyla Birlik and could be now in the hands of the Turkish intelligence service, said Deutsche Welle.
The issue of the lawyer was also raised by German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas during his talk with his Turkish counterpart Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu last week on the sidelines of a G-20 meeting in Japan.
Maas reportedly told Çavuşoğlu that Germany regarded the lawyer’s arrest as incomprehensible and that Berlin had “no understanding for it.” Dialogue, however, must be maintained between Berlin and Ankara despite difficulties, Maas said.