Turkish-Dutch mosque leader accused of spying for Erdogan

Recep Tayyip Erdogan
. Recep Tayyip Erdogan (source: commons.wikimedia.org)

The chairman of Turkish-Dutch mosque umbrella organization Diyanet collected names of people who sympathize with Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen and passed it on to the regime of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the chairman himself admitted in an interview with the Telegraaf. 

The man in question is Yusuf Acar. He is attaché of the Turkish government in the Netherlands and chairman of Diyanet. According to him, the information he passed on to Turkey is pubic information that he collected himself from the internet. "As attaché I collected information that anyone can find on the internet", he said to the newspaper. He found the information on "Hollanda FETO". He stressed that he was the only one to do so and that no imams were involved. 

FETO is the abbreviation used for followers of Fethulah Gulen. The Turkish government believes that Gulen was behind an attempted military coup in the country earlier this year. Since the coup 125 thousand people were dismissed or imprisoned, mostly involving journalists, soldiers, judges and scientists. 

On Friday the Dutch branch of Diyanet and the Turkish embassy denied accusations information about Gulen supporters is being passed on to Erdogan, calling the accusations "absolutely incorrect". 

According to RTL Nieuws, Christian political party CDA was one of the organizations mentioned as a Gulen supporter. Party leader Sybrand Buma was furious. "This interference is bizarre and unacceptable", he said to the broadcaster. "The allegations are ridiculous and false. They show how far the propaganda from Ankara reaches. Again it is clear that the Turkish government is trying mess with Dutch relations. The government should call the ambassador to account."

State Secretary Jetta Klijnsma of Social Affairs is calling on people who feel intimidated by Diyanet, to report it to the police. 

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