Sunday, 28 August 2016

curveball

Although it was known for years that agents and informants were keeping their country’s diaspora under surveillance to uncover any expatriates who might be harbouring critical views of the ruling regime, it seems no one really appreciated the scope and the reach of this network in Germany (which rivalled the Stasi of East Germany) and other European countries with significant Turkish populations until the failed coup.  In fact Ankara’s MİT (Millî İstihbarat Teşkilatı) had formerly worked closely with counterpart intelligence services in host nations to thwart potential terrorism and smuggling operations (of all sorts), but in the aftermath of the failed coup, spies have been drawn closer to the regime and deployed to menace and intimidate (reminding the exiled that they still have family in the homeland can force anyone to be silent or even rally in the regime’s support) those that probably left the country in the first place over political reasons. 
Now, instead of having faith in the intelligence of their partners, the BND and others fear that any information they act on might have been presented to them in order to incriminate individuals (sort of the reserve false testimony of the informant known as Curveball, a dissident who feed the war hawks the salacious details it wanted to hear) who don’t share the Turkish government’s vision of how national and religious identities are to be portrayed and exercised.