Turkey summons German envoy over spying allegations
Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel pictured with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, speak during a press conference in Ankara, February 25, 2014 (File/AFP)
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Turkey has summoned the German ambassador over reports that the Middle Eastern country was spied on by Germany’s secret service, BND.
Citing a confidential document, German news magazine Der Spiegel reported on Sunday that Turkey had been listed as a target for BND espionage activities since 2009.
Germany’s media also reported that the BND had “accidentally” listened in on phone calls made by the U.S. secretary of state, John Kerry, and his predecessor Hillary Clinton in 2012 and 2013.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement released on Monday that Ambassador Eberhard Pohl was asked 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.”
“Such practices would not be acceptable in an environment that requires mutual trust and respect between friends and allies,” the ministry added.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu also said that if true, the claims would be “unacceptable, inexcusable and would require an explanation.”
The German Foreign Ministry, however, said Ambassador Pohl’s discussion with the Turkish Foreign Ministry “took place in a friendly atmosphere... to explain to the Turkish authorities what was published in the German media.”
The revelations come less than a year since Berlin summoned the U.S. ambassador following allegations that the U.S. spied on German authorities.
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 the activities of the Kurdish Workers party (PKK).
According to Der Spiegel, the German government reviews its espionage program every four years, but did not modify its priorities after the scandal over U.S. spying.