The raids, within the states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate, may additional pressure relations between the 2 NATO allies, which want one another to sort out points starting from militant Islamist assaults to Europe’s migrant disaster.
The Federal Public Prosecutor’s Workplace (GBA) mentioned in an announcement that the imams had acted on an order issued on September 20 final 12 months by the Turkey-based Diyanet non secular authority which mentioned the Gulen motion was behind the putsch try.
German Justice Minister Heiko Maas mentioned the 4 imams have been members of Ditib, Germany’s largest affiliation of mosques which brings imams from Turkey to serve the group of some three million individuals with a Turkish background who reside right here.
“It is rather clear that the affect of the Turkish state on Ditib is huge. The affiliation should plausibly disengage itself from Ankara,” Maas mentioned in an announcement.
Final month the GBA launched an investigation into Turkish intelligence operations on German soil after a lawmaker filed a felony grievance. Austria can also be investigating whether or not Turkey has been working an informer community focusing on Gulen followers on its soil, through its embassy in Vienna.
Turkey has accused Germany of harboring militants from the Kurdistan Employees Occasion (PKK) and far-leftists of the DHKP-C, which has carried out assaults in Turkey. German officers reject the accusation.
The GBA mentioned Wednesday’s searches have been aimed toward discovering extra proof to hyperlink the suspects to espionage actions.
“The suspects are suspected of getting collected details about members of the so-called Gulen motion and handed it on to the overall consulate in Cologne,” the GBA mentioned.
Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan accuses Gulen of masterminding the abortive coup, through which at the very least 240 individuals have been killed, and needs the US to extradite him. Gulen denies any involvement within the coup try.
Since July Turkey has arrested tens of hundreds of individuals over suspected ties to Gulen in a wide-ranging crackdown criticized by Germany and different European Union nations.