Hoppe: MİT is relying on mole officers in Germany

Journalist Jürgen Hoppe thinks MİT doesn’t get information from the German intelligence like in the past anymore, and that is why they are relying on moles inside German institutions, especially the police.

Journalist Jürgen Hoppe has worked for the state institution West German Broadcasting Cologne (WDR) for years. He was one of the regional administrators of the WDR Dortmund radio, and he’s an expert on Germany’s Kurdish and Turkish policies. During his work as a journalist, one of the issues he dealt with the most was Turkish intelligence service MİT’s activity in Germany.

Hoppe answered ANF’s questions on how the MİT organizes in Germany, how MİT and German intelligence worked together against the Kurdish freedom movement in the past and, most importantly, the role of mole police officers within the German police.

How did the German government and the Erdoğan government “falling out” affect the relationship between the two countries’ intelligence agencies?

Earlier this year, Turkey’s largest intelligence service MİT had given the German intelligence a list of names for surveillance. When people heard of the list they laughed, asked how German police and intelligence could work with Turkish intelligence in a matter like this, and thought this was silly. But it wasn’t silly, because there had been close-knit cooperation between German and Turkish intelligence services before, and Turkey relied on that.

They also had strong ties with the German police. So, Turkish intelligence submitted the list, confident that it would be smooth sailing. But things had changed, and Turkey wasn’t up to speed. Because cooperation with German intelligence had been fruitful before. For example, the biggest PKK lawsuit in history had been possible through such cooperation.

You mean the 1988 Düsseldorf case that included names like Duran Kalkan, Ali Haydar Kaytan and Hüseyin Çelebi. What was the cooperation in that case with Turkish intelligence? Can you give details?

We have a lot of details on this issue. For once, information that the German police, intelligence and prosecutors of the time had no way of obtaining was present in the casefile. MİT had been active here back then as well, and they gave the information they gathered to the Germans. It should be remembered that Germany was the first country where PKK was banned. A close information exchange regarding the PKK was important for the intelligence agencies of both countries. German intelligence gave the information they gathered to the MİT. And the MİT gave the information they had on PKK in Germany and in general to the German intelligence. This information exchange lasted for a long time, but started to wane in time.

I believe the information exchange regarding the PKK stopped after assassinations and the civil war breaking out in the Kurdish region of Turkey. Similarly, it was seen that the Kurds are an important force that fights against the Erdoğan regime. When Turkey and Germany came head to head, they understood the importance of Kurds better. Right now, among the foreign groups, the most loved are the Kurds.

A while ago the ANF exposed a MİT mole in the German police. Where else do you think they have moles?

Like in the past, the MİT is active in a lot of places in Germany, almost everywhere. I am one of the people who published articles and shared the news with the public before. In workers’ unions, in employers’ unions, in political parties, in the red cross and in any institution you can think of, the MİT has moles. We know that there are MİT employees in police units everywhere in Germany. There is a lot of information on this. There are even high ranking police officers involved.

The MİT uses “contact officers” to get close to the Kurdish and Turkish society in Germany. Who are these officers? They are the police officers with immigrant roots who build relationships with immigrant groups. Because these are the officers that contact Kurds and Turks.


And through what kind of a net is the information on Kurds and Turks in the opposition delivered to the MİT?

The “contact officers” are people who go into contact with the people who came from the same country as them. The MİT uses this loophole for their advantage. This is how they gather information. For example, what good is a police officer that doesn’t have connections with their countrymen? The higher these officers’ ranks are, the better it is for the MİT. Chief inspectors, police chiefs and criminal desk chiefs play an important role here.

Why is it important? What can a high ranking police officer in the German police do for the MİT?

Because as the chiefs get higher ranks, it is that much easier for them to conceal themselves and their activity. That is why it is important. In addition, they can order other officers to investigate or surveil people, and thus gather more intelligence. It is easier for these chiefs or chief inspectors to go to consulates, embassies or a DİTİB mosque and send the intelligence they gathered to the MİT, because it won’t arouse suspicion. So these chief inspectors and police chiefs are a starting point in the information flow to the Turkish intelligence.

What else does MİT do other than gather information?

For example, they can abduct people who they deem “dangerous”. We know of the MİT abducting people in Germany as well. There have been two incidents in Berlin and one in Bavaria. The people are abducted to Turkey, they are tortured and prisoned, and they are told never to tell anyone they have been abducted. After these people get out of prison, they say they went to Turkey on their own volition and the matter is closed.

The MİT members I spoke with in Germany did not admit to these abductions, they just smiled and said no. We are also aware that the MİT even has people in the left-leaning political parties. The MİT wants to follow up on political activity and to know what party is doing what.


So, where does the intelligence of the MİT go to in Germany? How is the flow of information organized?

Everybody who works for the MİT has their working area and everybody carries the information to different centers. The flow of information can go through a non-suspicious DİTİB mosque, or a consulate, or sometimes a shell company that looks like they engage in exports/imports.

How many shell companies do you think there are in Germany?

It is impossible to know the exact number, but there are rumors of at least a hundred companies. Not just in Germany. Countries like the Netherlands, France and other European countries should also be taken into account. It is also possible that there are a couple of shell companies in every major city. It doesn’t have to be exports/imports as a façade, I just cite that as an example. It could be a shop, a coffee house, an association or a travel agency.


Where do you think is the headquarters of intelligence?

The headquarters is in the consulate. Like the German consulate in Turkey has a branch of German intelligence inside, the Turkish consulate in Germany has a Turkish intelligence unit. This is not a secret, it is openly known by all. Sometimes when unfavorable things happen, these people are deported by the German Foreign Ministry.

Do you know how many deportations have occurred to date?

We can’t know how many deportations regarding Turkey have come to pass. Because the information is guarded closely and isn’t released. And we should add that the Turkish intelligence works skilfully and professionally. They are trying hard not to get caught. It is also a known fact that there are at least a thousand people working professionally for the Turkish intelligence in Germany.

What role do DİTİB’s mosques play?

There are DİTİB mosques that have been shut down for working with Turkish intelligence. And we know of imams who have been removed from duty by the Turkish Directorate of Religious Affairs when they didn’t want to work with the MİT anymore. The DİTİB mosques in Düsseldorf, Cologne and Gelsenkirchen are said to be in the center of this network of intelligence.

So, why do German security and judiciary turn a blind eye to the MİT?

It’s not like in the past anymore, I know that there are prosecutors and judges who investigate MİT activity. There are also officers who are just not political and not aware of the severity of the issue. When I warned some officers about the MİT before, I heard thing like, “Oh how is that possible, are you sure?”


So if there hadn’t been such high tensions between Germany and Turkey in 2017, and if the MİT and the German intelligence were still working together, what would have happened to these lists?

The lists would never have been made public. They would have said it is a demand by a NATO-member country and the lists would have been investigated first, then most of the demands would be met in a way that would satisfy Turkey. The Interior Ministry wouldn’t have been contacted like it was now, the German intelligence BND would have taken the lists and answered their partner’s inquiry in the framework of “friendship”.

Similarly, the BND used to give part of the information they gathered in Turkey, the part that they could not use, to the Turkish intelligence. Of course not anymore. Now we can say that the “old friends” are working against each other. In such a scene, as there is no more cooperation between the institutions of the two states, the police officers in the German security forces play a big role for the Turkish intelligence.

So we will hear more of the mole scandals in the German police in the coming period...

The moles will do everything they can to avoid being exposed. The Turkish intelligence will turn towards this method because their former partner the German intelligence doesn’t work with them anymore. So then the MİT will try to make it work through individuals. The mole doesn’t have to be a police officer. It could be a public servant working in municipalities or the foreigners’ office. Public servants who work in such offices can also access information on the Turks and Kurds who live in their area.