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Danish foreign minister rules out action on alleged Turkish surveillance

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Danish foreign minister rules out action on alleged Turkish surveillance
Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen. Photo: Ólafur Steinar Gestsson/Scanpix
18:10 CEST+02:00
Conflicting information from the Turkish embassy represents a lack of cause for tougher measures on alleged Turkish surveillance of individuals within Denmark's borders, says Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen.

Turkey denies having carried out surveillance on individuals in Denmark critical of the Ankara government, says Samuelsen.

The foreign minister said at a parliamentary consultation on Thursday that he did not see any cause for more decisive action to get to the bottom of of the alleged Turkish surveillance, reports news agency Ritzau.

The minister attended a meeting at the Turkish embassy in Copenhagen earlier on Thursday, in which Ankara representatives denied having carried out systematic surveillance of Turkish people in Denmark.

In April this year, a former advisor at the Turkish embassy in Copenhagen did, in fact, claim that it had collected information on suspected supporters of a Turkish anti-government religious and social movement based in Denmark.

Four men and fourteen schools in Denmark were reported as being connected to the Gülen movement in a document sent to Turkey last autumn, claimed Adnan Bülent Baloglu in an interview with the Kristeligt Dagblad newspaper.

“Turkey has distanced itself from his remarks, and thereby does not confirm what he said,” Samuelsen said to news agency Ritzau.

READ ALSO: Denmark summons Turkish envoy over informant fears

The foreign minister was called to the consultation by his opposite number in the Social Democrat party, foreign policy spokesperson Nick Hækkerup.

Hækkerup's party called for the government to intervene on the issue when Baloglu's claims surfaced in April.

Hækkerup called again following Thursday's consultation for Samuelsen to do more over the issue.

“He can say that this is an issue that is so serious that he will again take it to the Turkish foreign minister. He can also say that he will bring it up with EU colleagues, since this is something that is also happening in other countries. Finally, he can also say that he wants a weekly follow-up from his system so that he can follow the issue closely over the summer,” Hækkerup told newspaper Politiken.

The Danish foreign ministry informed Ankara in a meeting today that Denmark would not accept illegal surveillance on its territory, according to the newspaper.

But Samuelsen said that his position as foreign minister enabled him only to put diplomatic pressure on Ankara - not to investigate what actually took place.

"I am not a police agency," said Samuelsen according to Politiken.

The foreign minister encouraged citizens to report any suspicious incidents to police, according to the newspaper.

Baloglu, who worked as a religious adviser at the Turkish embassy in Copenhagen, was sent back to Turkey shortly after giving his interview to Kristeligt Dagblad, according to Ritzau.

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