After the police violence in Berlin during last Saturday’s demonstration against Turkey’s attacks in Iraqi Kurdistan, Berlin’s Kurdish community is again talking about Turkish-speaking police officers in the city’s security forces.
As protesters were pushed to the ground, several being taken into custody and many beaten, eye witnesses reported seeing officers in uniform speaking Turkish, some hurling insults at protesters in Turkish.
The police said the intervention was warranted as some protesters were carrying symbols of organisations that are banned in Germany. Activists maintain the Turkish-German officers among the police were deliberately trying to provoke the crowd, according to a report in ANF.
The number of Turkish-German police officers has been on the rise in recent years, and these officers are deliberately assigned to Kurdish demonstrations, the agency said.
Der Spiegel reporting in 2017, reported that there were “anti-democratic attitudes and Turkish nationalism” among Turkish-German trainees at the Berlin Police Academy, an instructor told the news website.
“I have no idea for how long things will go well when hardcore Erdoğan fans are deployed at Kurdish demonstrations,” the instructor said. Another instructor confirmed the same in comments to the Berliner Morgenpost newspaper.
In a 2017 photo that went viral among diaspora communities, a Berlin police officer was seen flashing the grey wolf sign in police uniform.
Grey Wolves are the youth organisation of Turkey’s far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), and have been involved in political violence and assassinations in the 1970s and 1980s. The organisation has been banned in Austria since 2019, and in October 2021 the European Parliament urged the European Union to add them to the bloc’s list of terrorist organisations.
The officer who flashed the sign faced an official investigation, was forced to relocate and presumably still works as a public servant at another office, according to the Berlin police.
In 2019, a man named Zafer Gülgen posted on social media flashing Grey Wolf symbols, this time with the caption, “For us everywhere is the Republic”. In the aftermath, police announced that the man was not affiliated with the police at the time, and that they had no idea how he got hold of police equipment.
In March 2022, a man who uses the pseudonym Tolga was seen in videos in full police gear, and then in civilian clothes with Turkish nationalist symbols on them, standing in front of the Turkish flag and flashing the grey wolf symbol.
In one of his videos, Tolga says, “Those who obey the infidel will be slaughtered by Turks. We give our lives to Allah.” Berlin police told Die Welt newspaper that the man was in fact an employee at the city’s as a property security guard. According to the police spokesperson, the man who called himself Tolga had recently been stationed at consulates and at a synagogue as a security guard.
Intelligence officials were also exposed in 2018, when reports came out that a high-ranking police officer in Berlin had been working for Turkey’s National Intelligence Agency (MİT), collecting personal data on opponents of the regime and relaying the information to the Turkish embassy.
There were 13 investigations on possible MİT activity in Germany in 2018, according to the government, led by Angela Merkel at the time.
According to the ANF, Germany is the European country where Turkey’s spy network is most active, with operatives placed particularly within religious establishments and a department called Harmony Police, which deal with immigrants’ issues in their communities. Some 20 translators in Germany’s immigration department who provide services to asylum seekers were also revealed to have ties to the Turkish government.