German media reported that Turkey's National Intelligence Organization (MİT) has contacted its German counterpart, the BND, about a number of individuals living in Germany working against Turkey's interests. The German government has reacted to the reports by saying that Turkey's intelligence operations in Germany are totally illegal and intolerable.
The thing is, intelligence agencies are created to collect intelligence, and this is as true for the MİT as for the CIA, MI5, Mossad or the BND. It's not like those agencies are working on global warming or the bee population decline.
In brief, the MİT has done what it has been created for and gathered intelligence. Then, it has contacted the BND, as it thought Germany is still an ally country. As a matter of fact, we know the two intelligence agencies have worked many times together in the past. So the MİT legitimately expected the BND to help Turkey. And what the BND has done? Instead of acting like an ally, it has leaked the MİT's request to the press and it has warned people on the list. Those people may have dual nationality, so one could find an excuse and think the BND was just trying to protect German citizens, but no, it appears that most of those people have only Turkish passports.
This incident does not only prove that German authorities are turning a blind eye to the activities of people working against Turkey; but it also shows that Germany is no longer considering Turkey to be a friend.
At the same time, a parliamentarian from Austria has announced that the MİT is collecting intelligence in more than 30 countries against members of the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ). One wonders how an Austrian politician gets information about the MİT's activities around the globe. Maybe it is not hard to learn Turkey's security secrets anymore, as hundreds of Turkish diplomats and officers are currently seeking asylum in Western countries. Just in Germany alone, there are 262. While assessing their applications, the German authorities are probably debriefing them and collecting precious information these people may have. In other words, Germany has both benefited from the official channels of cooperation and the testimonies of those asylum seekers who would betray any secret to get asylum status.
Another detail in the Austrian member of parliament's declaration: He criticizes Turkish diplomatic missions in Europe because they are transmitting information to Turkey. The member of parliament in question probably believes that Turkish diplomats should not inform their superiors in Ankara about anything.
I was not aware that diplomats were supposed to spend their entire time making speeches, assisting at cultural and sporting events and doing some shopping. Maybe the American diplomats in Germany or in Austria live like this, even though one guesses that the Russian diplomats are a little bit more active. Maybe the Turkish diplomats and intelligence agents are indeed acting differently than other diplomats or agents.
We know they do not. We also know that Germany and those other countries are in fact trying to prevent Turkish diplomatic missions and the intelligence agency from doing their job. However, as reciprocity is the guiding rule of foreign relations, they thus give Turkey a reason to do the same against German activities in Turkey. If they, for example, decide to expel some Turkish diplomats and agents, Turkey will definitely do the same. Who knows what may leak to the press, in the meantime.
One wonders why the relationship between Germany and Turkey has suddenly turned into a "war-like" situation like this. It would be nice for the two sides, however, to think about the long-term consequences of their actions. They absolutely need to keep a few diplomatic doors open, as sooner or later, they will have to normalize their relations.