German Left Party frustrated with Berlin’s secrecy over contact with Gülenists - AA

The German Left Party is frustrated with the government’s lack of disclosure on ongoing contact with members of the Gülen movement, a religious group Ankara accuses of orchestrating the failed coup attempt of July 2016, state-run Anadolu news agency said on Wednesday. 

Berlin has confirmed that its spy agencies maintain contact with the group, designated as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, while responding to a question in parliament submitted by the opposition Left Party, Anadolu said.

But the German government has not been forthcoming with information about these contacts, stating such a move could reveal sources and undermine the functional capability of the spy agencies, in reference to the country’s foreign intelligence agency (BND) and domestic intelligence agency (BfV).

“It very much looks like the German government wants to keep its contacts with the Gulen network to have influence in a post-Erdogan Turkey,’’ Ulla Jelpke, a lawmaker with the Left Party, said.

“Until then, German intelligence organisations would like to benefit from the confidential information acquired by this movement through a decades-long campaign to infiltrate state institutions and through illegal eavesdropping,” she added.

The Turkish government accuses the Gülen movement, a former ruling party ally, of masterminding the 2016 coup attempt, which killed 250 people and injured over 1,000. Ankara maintains the failed putsch was the culmination of a long-running scheme to overthrow Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan by infiltrating Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.

Over 100,000 alleged Gülen devotees have been jailed or dismissed from their jobs under a two-year state of emergency declared shortly after the failed coup attempt.

Turkey has accused Germany, home to a large Turkish population, of supporting the network and has asked Berlin to extradite members of the group.