Turkey is surveilling opposition to the country’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) government in Sweden, state-run Radio Sweden revealed on Tuesday.
A recording of a conversation between an anonymous supporter of the Gulenist movement and Ozen Eken, chairman of the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) lobby organisation in Sweden, Union of European Turkish Democrats (UETD), was aired on the national radio channel.
In the conversation, Eken threatens a supporter of the Fethullah Gulen Movement with reprisals if he refuses to give information on the activity of Gulenists in Sweden.
In exchange for the information, Eken also promises amnesty for the charges the man faces in Turkey. “I will bring the matter up to the prime minister myself,” Eken says on the recording.
The investigation into the incident by Radio Sweden has revealed the recorded conversation was not an isolated case but that the practices are rather common and of a systematic character.
“This is clearly worrying information,” Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström told news agency TT following the report. Wallström has asked the Turkish ambassador for an explanation according to reports.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has targeted his former ally Fethullah Gulen and his followers for allegedly plotting last July’s coup attempt. Tens of thousands of people have been purged and imprisoned for being members of the Gulenist Movement.
However intelligence reports by the EU and Germany have said that although some Gulenists were involved in the coup, the US-based Muslim cleric did not orchestrate the coup attempt.
Unlawful intelligence gathering is a crime in Sweden.