As anti-Turkish politics grip Europe Turkish-Swiss policeman arrested

Published 01.05.2017 00:00

As European states continue their controversial policies against Turkey, especially following the April 16 referendum results, the Swiss police department in the city of Basel arrested a police officer of Turkish descent, identified by the initials Y.S., over allegations that the former Union of the European-Turkish Democrats (UETD) member was spying for the Turkish government, according to a report from web-based Avrupa-Postası news. The Basler Zeughaus Police Department reportedly provided information related to UETD-Switzerland meetings as evidence against Y.S.

There have been an increasing number of oppressive and racist activities targeting Muslims and Turks in Switzerland in recent years, while activities of members of the PKK terrorist organization continue to be met with tolerance in the country. In fact, in late March PKK sympathizers gathered in front of the Swiss Parliament in Bern to hold a demonstration for the "no" campaign ahead of Turkey's referendum, while Turkish ministers attempting to campaign for the "yes" camp were banned from doing so. During the latest pro-PKK event in Switzerland, flags of the terrorist organization as well as for its leader, Abdullah Öcalan, were seen as was a poster featuring death threats against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

As a result, relations between Turkey and Switzerland have become tense, and the Swiss ambassador to Ankara was summoned to the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. To further exacerbate tensions, the Basel Regional Police Department sued traffic police officer Y.S. for alleged impeachment and for illegally intruding official information and documents . The prosecutor's office then issued an arrest warrant for Y.S. as a result of the allegations. The accusations include claims that Y.S. transferred information and documents to UETD officials in Switzerland and that he transferred information to the Turkish government via the Turkish consulate. However, according to Swiss media, the incident was first brought up after a UETD member posted a picture from a gathering on social media from three years ago.

In addition to the case of the Swiss-Turkish police officer, others have signaled increasing tensions between Turkey and European states, such as the recent launching of an investigation by the German prosecutor's office against four imams affiliated with the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DİTİB) over spying allegations. German police raided the homes of four imams affiliated with the DİTİB in the states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate in February on grounds that they had conducted espionage on behalf of the Turkish government against the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), the group responsible for masterminding the failed July 15 coup attempt last year. The Turkish Presidency of Religious Affairs (DİB) has rejected the spying accusations since the allegations surfaced, noting that an order hadn't been sent to the DİTİB as it is a separate organization. Despite the German official's accusations, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) in North Rhine-Westphalia found no evidence linking the DİTİB to the spying allegations. Mustafa Yeneroğlu, chairman of the Turkish Parliament's Human Rights Investigation Committee and a Justice and Development Party (AK Party) deputy, also previously described the action as "politically motivated."

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