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Germany launches second probe into suspected Turkish spying

Germany launched a second investigation on Tuesday into suspected spying by Turkey, one element of a growing rift between the powerful NATO allies.

“We have launched an investigation against an unnamed entity on suspicion of espionage,” a spokesman for the Federal Prosecutor’s Office (GBA) said.

He declined to comment on German media reports that the entity was the Turkish Intelligence Agency (MIT) and that it suspected of spying on supporters of U.S.-based cleric Fetullah Gulen, accused by Ankara of organising a failed coup last July.

A GBA spokeswoman said the investigation was separate from an investigation launched earlier this year into possible spying by clerics sent to Germany by the Turkish government.

She said: “This is a new investigation that was begun today. Both cases involve suspected espionage involving Turkey, but at this moment there is no common substance to the two probes.”

There was no immediate response from Turkish officials.

The announcement came hours after Interior Minster Thomas de Maiziere said Germany would not tolerate foreign espionage on its territory, responding to the reports that the MIT was spying on supporters of Gulen in Germany.

German police last month raided the apartments of four imams suspected of spying for the Turkish government on supporters of the Gulen movement.

Germany and other western European countries have angered Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan by restricting or banning rallies to promote a referendum that would grant him sweeping new powers.

Erdogan accused Germany of using “Nazi” tactics, something the new German president last week said threatened Turkey’s foreign relations and everything the country had achieved in recent years. (Reuters)

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