According to Turkish media reports, the Turkish government’s Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) gathered intelligence via its imams and other employees in 38 countries on the activities of Turks suspected of supporting the US-based Turkish Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen, whom Turkey’s government accuses of organizing a failed coup attempt in July 2016. Diyanet reportedly requested from its branches abroad to submit their findings in time for the 9th Eurasia Islamic Council, which took place in October 2016. These findings were then reportedly submitted to the “Coup Commission” of the Turkish parliament (TBMM).
The findings included photos of the people who were being spied on by mosque employees hired by Diyanet and detailed information on the schools, companies, associations, foundations and media outlets allegedly linked to the Gülen movement, which the Turkish government has since labeled the “Fethullahist Terrorist Organization” (FETO).
According to the newspaper Hurriyet,
“The Diyanet said it gathered intelligence and prepared reports on Gülenists in Abkhazia, Germany (three reports from Dusseldorf, Cologne and Munich), Albania, Australia (two reports from Melbourne and Sydney), Austria (two reports from Salzburg and Vienna), Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria (two reports from Plovdiv and Sofia), Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Switzerland, Italy, Japan, Montenegro, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Kosovo, Lithuania, Macedonia, Mongolia, Mauritania, Nigeria, Norway, Poland, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Turkmenistan and Ukraine.”
During a recent three-day state visit to Germany to discuss ways to “develop trade and economic investments… and how to effectively struggle against racism, xenophobia, and Islamophobia,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attended the inauguration ceremony of the Cologne Central Mosque, established by the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DiTiB).