The trial of a Turkish man accused of spying for Turkish intelligence started in Düsseldorf on Thursday, Deutsche Welle Turkish reported.
The defendant Aziz A. is accused of cooperating with another man named Ali D., who was previously sentenced to one year and nine months in prison for spying on behalf of the Turkish Intelligence Agency (MIT) by collecting and providing information on dissidents from Turkey who live in Germany.
The list of names compiled by Ali D. included members of the Gülen movement, a religious group Ankara accuses of orchestrating a failed coup attempt in 2016, as well as those Turkey claims to be linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
According to prosecutors, Aziz A. provided Ali D. with information on two members of the Gülen movement and also sold him ammunition during a meeting at a shooting range. The prosecutors asked for Aziz A. to be charged with spying and violating the German fire arms law.
The Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf announced that Aziz A. started confessing his activities for the Turkish intelligence at the first hearing of the trial, Deutsche Welle said. Seven hearings have been scheduled for the trial before the end of November.
Following the failed coup attempt, many followers of the Gülen movement, who fled to European countries, have been targets of Turkey’s intelligence gathering activities. Germany launched the first investigation into Turkey’s intelligence activities in the country in 2017.
The German government said in August that investigations had been launched in 2021 against seven people on suspicion of spying for the Turkish intelligence. According to German official figures, Ankara requested extradition of 79 people the same year.