Three people are facing trial on charges of spying on critics of autocratic Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the Evrensel daily reported on Monday based on an article that appeared in the Danish Berlingske newspaper.
A wide-ranging investigation by the Danish Security and Intelligence Service (PET) has resulted in a legal case being filed against three people who informed on Turkish citizens living in Denmark to the Turkish government.
Turkish citizens living in Denmark who hold political views opposed to Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party voiced concerns in March 2017 that they were being denounced to the Turkish government for treason. This prompted the Danish government to summon Turkish diplomats and condemn the informants.
A Danish-Turkish politician and activist, Özlem Çekiç, was among the citizens who voiced concerns after receiving a Facebook message telling her she had been denounced.
Danish laws forbid gathering information on immigrants or asylum seekers living in the country; sharing this information with foreign countries is also prohibited. Thus, the presence of informants denouncing Turks in Denmark was treated as a serious issue by PET, which conducted a comprehensive investigation that has led to the trial of the three individuals on spying charges.
Last year Mehmet Dönmez, the Turkish ambassador in Copenhagen, was summoned by Denmark’s Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen for clarification of claims that Danish-Turkish citizens are being denounced to the Turkish government over their views critical of President Erdoğan.
Responding to questions from Danish lawmakers, Samuelsen said cases have been filed against three people on charges of spying on Erdoğan critics. Berlingske said the cases were initiated following a thorough investigation by Danish intelligence.
Danish law prohibits the collection of information on immigrants and asylum seekers in the country. Those in violation of the law can face a prison sentence of up to six years.
Lars Aslan Rasmussen, a lawmaker from the Social Democrats in Denmark, told Berlingske that he was reported to Turkish authorities for criticizing the policies of the Turkish government; hence, he fears being arrested and tortured if he goes to Turkey.
Similar investigations have been launched in other European countries against Erdoğan supporters who have allegedly been involved in spying activities for the benefit of Erdoğan and the Turkish government. (SCF with turkishminute.com)