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Turkish Spying in Austria? The Austrian Government Orders Auditing the Main Turkish Association in the Country

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Austria – Via – Mr Pilz: “Turks living abroad are instrumentalized by Erdogan”

Austrian Green Party politician Peter Pilz has been monitoring the information gathering activities of various AKP-related associations in Austria for a longer period of time. They are said to work together with the Turkish intelligence agency MIT by means of gathering intelligence and reporting suspicious Turks living abroad. “Around 250,000 people with a Turkish immigration background live in Austria, 116,000 of whom also maintain their Turkish citizenship. The goal of the new strategy of the Turkish president is to instrumentalize them for the AKP,” said Pilz about one months ago on the occasion of the presentation of his report “Erdogan’s Attack on Austria”.

Because of these disturbing circumstances, Pilz calls for a strict separation of state and religion — in this case, separation of Islam (in Austria) from the Turkish state. Their close interaction allows, according to the report, that the mosque associations (Moscheevereine) in Austria are directly financed using AKP funds. As a result, imams and religious workers, as well as educational institutions and teachers, can be directly influenced by Ankara. In addition, the Islamic Religious Society in Austria (IGGÖ) is said to be under the direct control of the AKP.

Austrian government orders auditing of the “cultural association” ATIB

Pilz’s report has also shaken the federal government in Vienna. Chancellor Christian Kern (SPÖ), after a talk with Pilz, ordered an immediate special audit of the finances of the “cultural association” ATIB.

Numerous secret documents from almost every European embassy that were leaked to Peter Pilz confirm the suspicion that an espionage network might have been established though the various branches of the Turkish-Islamic “cultural association” ATIB. The correspondence of the embassies with Ankara explicitly mentions that “two terror suspects” have been recalled from the Islamic religious authority in Austria.

The activities of the opponents of the Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in Austria are reported in even greater detail: for example, that the followers of Fethullah Gülen, who has been charged by Ankara with the organization of the coup attempt on 15 July last year, have been “undermining” the structures of the Islamic cultural association which is faithful to Erdogan.

“This is all incompatible with the association statutes of ATIB,” says Pilz, who now expects action from Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka (ÖVP). According to Pilz, ATIB, as an association, would have to be dissolved by State police and the Interior Ministry’s department responsible for associations. The reaction from the Ministry of the Interior: “The information has already been passed on to the prosecutor’s office.”

Secret documents about espionage in 30 states

Federal Chancellor Kern has responded to the facts presented by Pilz by ordering a special audit to investigate the financial flows to ATIB. Pilz: “Financing of this association by Turkey or generally from abroad would be illegal under Austria’s Law on Islam.”

Pilz is not afraid of Turkey’s reaction: “We will present the secret documents throughout Europe. Erdogan would have to deal with 30 states at the same time.”