Policeman arrested for spying on behalf of Turkish government in Switzerland

The photo a former UETD official leaked to the press, showing the Turkish government's lobby group holding a meeting in a police headquarters in Basel.

A Turkish-Swiss policeman has been arrested in Switzerland on charges of spying for the Turkish government.

According to the Swiss daily Basler Zeitung, 37-year-old Y.K., who was previously suspended from the police force on allegations of procuring classified information for the Turkish government, was arrested on Thursday after a federal prosecutor launched an investigation.

The allegations surfaced after a former official of the Union of European Turkish Democrats (UETD), which is seen as a lobby group for Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), released a photo of a UETD meeting to the press.

According to the former official’s claim, the UETD had illegally held several meetings at a police headquarters in Basel, with suspect Y.K. granting access into areas only open to police officers.

Police officials said the suspect had accessed 3,000 police files thought to be information on people in opposition to the Turkish government, which he then sent to Turkish authorities.

Switzerland’s Federal Intelligence Service had been surveilling the suspect’s pro-Erdogan internet activity since 2016, the Basler Zeitung reported.

Claims of espionage on behalf of the Turkish government in Europe hit the headlines with allegations that clerics in Germany had spied on dissidents for the Turkish intelligence service.