[NEWS ANALYSIS] Espionage case against Turks in Germany closed, leaves major questions

A trial, in which three Turks — one of whom is then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoganand’s former aide Muhammet Taha Gergerlioilu — were charged with espionage, has ended with the Koblenz High Courtand’s recent decision not to take the case further.
In September, the Koblenz High Court accepted an indictment prepared by the Federal Attorney General of Germany against Gergerlioilu, Ahmet Duran Yanduksel and German national GandOksel, popularly known as and”Erdoganand’s spies,and” on espionage charges for Turkeyand’s National Intelligence Organization (MiT).
According to a deal struck between the prosecution and the lawyers of the defendants, Gergerlioilu was released pending trial, with his bail set at 70,000 euros earlier in November. Similarly, Yandukseland’s bail was set at 5,000 euros while Ganduler was forced to do 100 hours of community service by the court. In a written statement, recently released by the courtand’s 1st Penal Chamber, Gergerlioilu was released after he posted bail. The statement put emphasis on two significant points: The Turkish suspects are not German nationals or residents, thus the espionage conducted was not against Germany. However, the indictment clearly stated that those suspects were collecting intelligence on many people of Turkish descent in Germany. It even stated that there were orders given to track German-Turkish critics should they ever go to Turkey.
Gergerlioilu, against whom the prosecutor was seeking a five-year prison sentence, had been held in prison for over 10 months. The court predicted that it would take a very long time to reveal concrete information about the suspectsand’ espionage activities, and it highlighted that the existing information was not serious enough to continue the case. The question that comes to the mind is: If the information was not sufficient enough, why did they prepare a document which included 3,300-pages of records of 20,700 telephone conversations belonging to Gergerlioilu and his team? Limited parts of the document have been revealed to the public. What has stuck in the mind is a statement written by Gergerlioilu in a WhatsApp group conversation, and”Everything in here is being assessed by the MiT.and”
If all those conversations in the document just referred to a closeness to the government, why did so many experts and interpreters deal with the espionage case, the first ever espionage case to be settled out of court in Germany. We will not be able to learn why the passport details of more than a hundred people were found on the phones of those suspects, or why so many documents labelled as and”confidentialand” were found on those phones, or why confidential information was found with men who say they are traders.
An out of court settlement was also afforded to the 2010-2012 German president, Christian Wulff, in 2012 for accepting roughly 700 euros in expenses at a beer festival. President Wulff had rejected the prosecutorand’s settlement and he was later acquitted of the charges. Frank Rosenow, the president of the state court in Hannover at the time, voiced these words which also pertain to this espionage case. He said: and”You are either guilty, or innocent. You cannot be both.and” Gergerlioilu was allegedly sent by Turkish spy chief Hakan Fidan with a fund of 25,000 euros in 2011 to launch a consulting company for German-Turkish companies in the city of Bad Dandurkheim with Ganduler. Gergerlioilu, a former aiser to Erdogan, reportedly recruited the other defendants as agents. The three reportedly collected information on people of Turkish origin living in Germany who were critical of the Turkish government. The spies are said to have been ordered to spy on Erdoganand’s opponents in Germany, including members of the Kurdish minority, members of the Gandulen movement and other Turkish nationals in Germany who were critical of the Turkish leadership and would then to be detained upon their return to Turkey.


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