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Turkish intelligence develops app which lets expats inform on PKK, Gulen supporters Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

Turkish intelligence develops app which lets expats inform on PKK, Gulen supporters

Germany's primary counterintelligence agency revealed the app's existence in a report [AFP/ Illustrative image]

Date of publication: 10 June, 2019

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Germany's counter-intelligence agency has revealed that a mobile phone app was developed by Turkey to allow expats to report on anti-government activists.
Turkish intelligence services developed a mobile phone app to allow pro-government Turkish expatariates to report on their compatriots who criticise the country's ruling party, Germany's counterintelligence agency has alleged.

The smart phone application is mentioned in an annual report of Germany's Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), which covers foreign intelligence in Germany's southwestern state of Baden-Wurttemberg.

Baden-Wurttemberg is home to an estimated 15 percent of Germany's total Turkish population of around three million.

According to the report, Turkish intelligence agencies focussed their efforts on supporters of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and followers of cleric Fethullah Gulen among the Turkish expatriate community in the border state.

The PKK, which has fought a separatist insurgency since 1984, is designated to be a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the EU and US. Fethullah Gulen, a former ally of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is accused by Ankara of masterminding a failed coup attempt in 2016.

The BfV report alleges that supporters of Ergogan's Justice and Development Party's (AKP) who use the app are able to inform on Gulenists or PKK members in Germany, allowing for them to be interrogated or apprehended on arrival in Turkey.

It also highlights how several Turkish organisations, including religious and civic groups, allegedly act as intelligence gatherers for Ankara. The BfV names the Union of International Democrats and the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs, also known as DITIB, as being involved in intelligence collection.

Since 2016, Turkey has carried out a far-reaching crackdown on supporters of Gulen which has drawn criticism from world powers and rights groups.

At least 77,000 people have arrested and around 130,000 others have lost their jobs in the public sector for alleged associations with the Pensylvania-based cleric since 2016.

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