On Wednesday, Turkey, through its ambassador to France, confirmed that there is a “spy case” between the two countries, a few days after information published by a Turkish pro-government newspaper, amid a bilateral diplomatic crisis.
A story of espionage adds to the current strong tensions between Paris and Ankara. Turkish Ambassador to France Ismail Hakki Musa confirmed on Wednesday, July 1, the existence of a “company” between the two countries, a few days after information published by Turkish pro-government newspaper Sabah.
According to an article published on June 22, a former employee of the Security Service of the French Consulate General in Istanbul, Metin Ozdemir, surrendered to the police, claiming that he had collected information for the French external intelligence services (DGSE).
Four Turkish citizens suspected of spying on associative and religious circles on behalf of France have been arrested, the newspaper continued.
On Wednesday, Ismail Hakki Musa answered a question on the subject of the French Senate Foreign and Defense Committee and became the first Turkish official to raise it officially. “This matter is handled closely by DGSE and the Turkish MIT. (It has been two years) that this case has been the subject of exchange between the two services,” he said.
“The fact that this was repeated in the press a few days ago (…) has nothing to do with the news,” he said as diplomatic tensions between Paris and Ankara take hold. extent.
Paris has never responded publicly to this issue. The Foreign Ministry simply refused to “comment on the press rumors”.
Gather information on “conservative societies”
According to Sabah, Metin Ozdemir said he had transmitted information to the French about 120 people, including Imams, for a monthly salary and pledged to join the Foreign Legion, a body of the French army made up of foreign soldiers.
According to the newspaper, Metin Ozdemir, a member of the Turkish services investigating the Islamic State organization, also recruited three men: an employee of the municipal water company in Istanbul, a person working in telecom and the owner of a hotel in Istanbul.
The “spy cell”, as Sabah describes it, was responsible for gathering information on “conservative associations”, religious fraternities and the Religious Affairs Authority (Diyanet), the public body responsible for overseeing the worship.
According to the newspaper, the four men gathered specific information about the Association for Women and Democracy (KADEM), together with the chair of the youngest daughter of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
According to Sabah, Metin Ozdemir surrendered to the Turkish authorities after disagreement with the French agents. The four men will be tried for spying, the press office said.