German prosecutors drop Muslim-preachers spy probe amid tensions with Turkey

07 Décembre, 2017, 02:10 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Germany drops inquiry against Turkish imams

Prosecutors dropped the probe because of insufficient evidence that backed allegations that they had spied for Ankara.

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The Muslim clerics targeted by the German investigation belonged to Ditib, an organisation that manages some 900 mosques and religious centres in Germany.

Erdogan specifically offered to release detained Germans in Turkey such as journalist Deniz Yücel and demanded in return the extradition of several Turkish officers whom he accuses as a conspirator in the coup attempt in July 2016, the German magazine said on Dec 1.

Prosecutors said they had sought arrest warrants for seven suspects who are now residing in unknown locations, but a presiding judge found that the individuals did not pose an urgent threat.

They were suspected of spying for Erdogan's government on the movement of USA -based preacher Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara blames for a coup bid a year ago.

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The prosecutor's office said the inquiry had been dropped due to a lack of evidence and because seven of the imams had left the country.

A second investigation into suspected Turkish spying on alleged Gulen supporters continues. In some of the cases, the information the suspects had provided to Turkish authorities was "very general" and without detailed findings on specific people. Many have been released after being cleared.

A week after the German citizens were granted conditional release, both sides' foreign ministers also met in the southern Turkish resort of Antalya for informal talks - the first meeting since the bitter row intensified.

On Thursday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Erdogan held a rare phone conversation.

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