Not all NATO allies friends, German officials to Turkey

Turk Foreign Ministry spying activity not acceptable

BERLIN/ANKARA – As reports have emerged that Germany has been spying on Turkey for decades, some German officials defend the practice, saying not all NATO allies can be treated as friends, the Press TV reported.

The German Federal Intelligence Service – BND – has reportedly been spying on Turkey for almost four decades. German magazine Focus reported that the German secret service began eavesdropping upon approval by Social Democratic Chancellor Helmut Schmidt’s government since 1976.

Following the report, Turkey summoned German Ambassador Eberhard Pohl to provide a formal and satisfactory explanation over the reports and was told that if the claims are true, Germany should immediately stop any spying activity targeting Turkey.

“This is a grave situation that needs to be explained by Germany if there is slightest truth to these allegations,” Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “Such practices in relations among friends and allies, which should be built on mutual trust and respect, are in no way acceptable,” it added.

“We have never claimed in the past years that this position applies to every NATO country,” a German newspaper quoted a German government source as saying. According to the unnamed official, Berlin does not view Turkey as its US or European partner, including France or the UK.

Debates over previous spying allegations are still running high in the media, but the new report may add fuel to the tensions between two long-time NATO allies. The recent scandal first unveiled after German news magazine Der Spiegel revealed on August 17 that the BND has spied on Turkey at least since 2009.

German media also reported that the BND had accidentally listened in on phone calls made by US Secretary of State John Kerry, and his predecessor Hillary Clinton in 2012 and 2013. German politicians have sought to justify spying on Turkey, referring to the terrorist risk posed by the tensions on the country’s borders with Syria and Iraq, as well as activities of the Kurdish Workers Party that has been listed as a terrorist outfit by many countries.

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Aaj Kal