Secret documents have revealed that the Turkish intelligence service MIT has infiltrated refugee camps in Greece to spy on critics of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s government, a report by Nordic Monitor exposed.
According to a classified police report that compiled data from various government agencies, the intelligence was collected on members of the Gülen group, critics of Erdoğan, who were forced to flee to Greece to escape an unprecedented crackdown in neighbouring Turkey.
The Gülen movement was once an ally of Erdoğan but are now an arch enemy of his regime.
The document was sealed electronically on June 29, 2019 when it was notified as an internal document to other branches of government through the Electronic Information Management System (Elektronik Bilgi Yönetim Sistemi).
Although the secret activities of MIT in Greece are well known, it is a rare piece of evidence that confirms such operations on Greek soil. The document reveals the monitoring by Turkey on refugees and illegal immigrants in Greece, in order to identify the names and plans of those abroad who are being persecuted by the Erdoğan regime.
The explanatory note for a woman named Hilal Bilim, who is wanted on charges related to Gülen, states that she is one of those who left Turkey after the coup attempt against Erdoğan on July 15, 2016. The newsletter states that “As a result of the intelligence work, it was identified as one of the Gülenists who remained in a refugee center in Greece,” stressing that some members and sympathisers of the Gülen movement had crossed into Greece illegally. Some of them remained in Greece, submitting asylum applications, while others have moved to other European countries, mainly Germany.
The classified information was also revealed in a criminal investigation supervised by Ankara Prosecutor Adem Akıncı, regarding a number of Gülenists living abroad. Among them was Turkish journalist Hasan Cücük, who lives in Denmark and faced a credible death threat that prompted the Danish Security and Intelligence Service to take him to a safe place in 2017 until the threat is eliminated.
A letter to the Counter-Terrorism Directorate.
The collection of information aimed at Gülenists in Greece was on an excel-style worksheet with an explanatory note attached to Bilim’s name. According to the document, her name was mentioned in a testimony given by a defendant and then prosecutor Akıncı on November 20, 2018, which ordered the Ankara police to investigate Bilim and others mentioned in the testimony. On July 1, 2019, Ibrahim Bozkurt, head of the anti-terrorist unit, sent the full report to others at the prosecutor’s office. It is clear that the information came from intelligence services of the Erdoğan regime.
Letter from Ibrahim Bozcourt, Chief of Counter-Terrorism, who investigated journalist Cücük:
Bilim is described as a teacher who worked for one of Gülen’s schools in Turkey, with a warrant issued by the 2nd Konya Criminal Court. The profile of Cemal Bilim’s wife is described in the same information note. According to a report from the Stockholm Freedom Center, 96,719 teachers and academics have been expelled from Turkish public and private educational institutions. The Erdoğan regime in 2016-2017, imprisoned about 20,000 teachers, fired 34,185 public teachers and 5,719 academics including professors from state universities.
Greece, due to having land and sea borders with Turkey, has served as an important destination for opponents of the Erdoğan regime, including the Erdoğanists, who seek to avoid its wrath. Turkish intelligence services already working to gather information using groups of Muslim minorities in Greece have stepped up their activities in Greece. The secret document shows that Turkey is monitoring its critics, even if they manage to cross into Greece and seek asylum under international human rights conventions.