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Former head of German intelligence: Government authorised us to spy on Turkey

August 20, 2014 at 9:30 am

The former head of Germany’s intelligence agency (BND) has confirmed that the German government ordered the agency to spy on Turkey.

Anadolu news agency reported on Tuesday that Hans-Georg Wieck told the German newspaper Mitteldeutsche that the BND is not able to conduct spying activities without the proper authorisation from the government and noted that the German government did instruct the intelligence agency to spy on Turkey.

Wieck said that Germany is witnessing tensions between Kurds and non-Kurds, adding that the influence of internal political actors likely played a role in the spying decision.

Intelligence expert Erich Schmidt-Eenboom said that intelligence agencies often have a double-sided approach. “They cooperate with countries and at the same time continue to gather information on those countries. For example, the BND cooperates with China in some fields, but of course it spies on it,” he said.

He added that Turkey shares borders with Iraq, Syria and Iran, it controls the Dardanelles strait and it is a candidate for EU membership, which is why the German government wants to learn more about the country’s internal balances to find out whether or not there is a deep state inside Turkey.

Schmidt-Eenboom believes the BND has also spied on other NATO countries, but pointed out that allied countries often spy on each other.

The German government funds the BND’s spying, comprised of mainly phone, Internet and other electronic wiretapping activities.

German newspaper Bild reported that the budget allocated for the German intelligence agency will increase by 24 per cent next year to reach 614.6 million euros.

Der Spiegel magazine had reported earlier that the BND continues to spy on Turkey, based on instructions from the German government in 2009.

Following the Der Spiegel report, the Turkish Foreign Ministry summoned the German Ambassador, Eberhard Pohl, to Ankara and informed him of the Turkish stance on the spying allegation. According to a press statement issued by the Turkish Foreign Ministry, it told the German ambassador that the German government must issue statements on the topic and end its spying activities, if they are proven to exist.

The Turkish government also stressed that this is unacceptable behaviour between allied countries whose relations are based on mutual trust and respect.