Wallström contacts Turkish ambassador over refugee espionage claims

6:53 min

Swedish Radio's revelations that Turkey's government is trying to identify and track down supporters of the opposition Gülen Movement in Sweden has prompted foreign minister Margot Wallström to seek an explanation from the Turkish ambassador.

"This is clearly worrying information," Margot Wallström tells news agency TT following Swedish Radio's report of refugee espionage against Turkish citizens in Sweden.
According to Sweden's foreign minister, she discussed similar information at a meeting with the Turkish ambassador almost a year ago, which has now been followed up with a phone call to the embassy about the latest revelations.

"We are following this matter closely," she says.
She tells TT that she sees no reason to call the Turkish ambassador to the Foreign Ministry.

We have expressed our concerns about this issue and it has been noted."

Swedish Radio on Tuesday published a recording of Özer Eken, chairman of a lobby organisation with links to Turkey's ruling AKP party, attempting to force a member of the Gülen Movement into providing information on other supporters.

Eken claims to be a personal friend of Turkish prime minister Binali Yıldırım, and is chairman of UETD, AKP's lobby organisation in Sweden.

In the conversation, Eken threatened the Swedish Gülen supporter that there would be reprisals if he did not give some concrete information on Gülenist activity in Sweden.

Paul Levin, Director of Stockholm University's Institute for Turkish Studies, tells Radio Sweden that he is not surprised by the revelations, which mirror reports from other European countries.

"It's quite a dramatic recording. Quite problematic for the organisation if  this is indeed what transpired. They are not supposed to do intelligence work in Sweden and it might violate Swedish law. But on the other hand, it's not entirely surprising that Turkey is mapping this group that they consider to be an enemy of the Turkish state and it's in line with what's going on in Turkey and some other European countries."