Turkish authorities have arrested a lawyer of the German Embassy in the capital Ankara on suspicion of espionage, German magazine Der Spiegel reported on Nov. 20.
A diplomatic source confirmed to Duvar English that the lawyer was arrested in the middle of September, saying the German government is intensively working to clarify the charges and for this is in contact with the arrested lawyer’s family and Turkish officials.
“The lawyer did usual support work for the embassy which is common practice across Europe and which from our point of view is indisputably permitted. The arrest is for us not comprehensible,” the source said.
The lawyer was responsible from obtaining information in Turkey for the processing of the asylum applications of Turkish citizens in Germany, der Spiegel said in its report. The lawyer was therefore asking the Turkish police and the prosecutors whether the relevant people were being investigated in Turkey or were facing imprisonment if they were to return to Turkey. The lawyer’s findings were then forwarded to the German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (known “BAMF” in Germany), which decides on the asylum decisions, according to the report.
Now, the German government “fears” that the Turkish authorities and the Turkish intelligence have made the arrested lawyer talk and gotten hold of the information on 50 Turkish citizens, who have applied for asylum in Germany, Der Spiegel said. Among these 50 people are reportedly prominent Kurdish figures and followers of the exiled Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen, a group that the government refers to as the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) and blames for the July 2016 coup attempt.
Therefore the German government fears that Turkish nationals seeking refuge in Germany “could be harassed or even threatened by Turkey,” said the report. “The state security has explicitly warned several parties concerned that the Turkish intelligence has received detailed information by arresting the lawyer,” said the report.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has previously called on Germany to extradite supporters of the Gülen network and said Germany should designate them as “terrorists.”