Judicial documents have confirmed that the Turkish diplomatic missions in Algeria engaged in a campaign of intelligence gathering and collected information on the activities of critics of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Then information was later used in a criminal indictment for a charge of terrorism by a Turkish prosecutor.
According to a December 19, 2018 decision by prosecutor Adem Akıncı, the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office launched a separate investigation (file no. 2018/43629) into two Turkish nationals in Algeria who were listed in espionage files dispatched by Turkish diplomats in the country without any concrete evidence of wrongdoing.
According to the documents they were charged with “membership in a terrorist group” by Akıncı. The investigation was based on spying files created at the Turkish Embassy in Algiers between 2016 and 2018.
The profiling files were conveyed to the foreign ministry by Mehmet Poroy, the Turkish ambassador to Algeria between 2015 and 2019.
Critics of the Erdoğan government abroad, especially members of the Hizmet/Gülen movement, have been facing surveillance, harassment, death threats and abduction since President Erdoğan decided to scapegoat the group for his own legal troubles. They have often been denied consular services such as power of attorney and birth registry as well as having their passports revoked. Their assets in Turkey are seized and their family members at home risk criminal charges.
On January 21, Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu thanked Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune for the deportation of Turkish businessman N.N.K., who had alleged ties to the Gülen/Hizmet movement and was living in Algeria, and revealed that the businessman was brought back to Turkey by the Turkish intelligence agency (MIT).
Judicial document dated December 19, 2018 reveals spying on critics in Algeria by Turkish diplomatic missions. (The addresses and names of the Turkish nationals have been redacted for security reasons):
As previously disclosed by Nordic Monitor, the foreign ministry sent lists of profiled Turkish nationals in two CDs to the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, the national police and Turkey’s intelligence agency MIT on February 19, 2018 via an official document for further administrative or legal action, the punishment of their relatives back in Turkey and the seizure of their assets.
Public prosecutor Akıncı, who received the foreign ministry document on February 23, 2018, forwarded the classified CDs including information on 4,386 Erdoğan critics to the Organized Crimes Unit of the Ankara Police Department for further action. The police conveyed the results of its investigations to the public prosecutor.
As a side note, Akıncı, who led the investigation into the assassination of Russian Ambassador Andrei Karlov in December 2016, was accused of suppressing the evidence that the killer had links to various jihadist groups including al-Qaeda and was radicalized by several pro-government imams, including two who worked for the government religious authority, the Diyanet. Nordic Monitor previously reported that several suspects told the court that Akıncı had forced them to testify during interrogation that the assassination was directed by the Gülen movement. They were later jailed after declining the prosecutor’s request to testify to that in court.
According to judicial documents released by the Ankara 4th High Criminal Court on January 16, 2019, the foreign ministry compiled a long list of foreign entities that were owned and/or operated by people who were seen as close to the movement.