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Relations with Turkey Swiss investigate Turk suspected of spying

Kurds protesting on parliament square

Kurds protest in front of the Swiss parliament in 2015 against Turkey's treatment of the Kurds


The Swiss Office of the Attorney General (OAG) is investigating a Turk of Kurdish descent who is said to have spied on compatriots in Switzerland and denounced them to the Turkish government. One of the men who was reported is said to have been arrested in Turkey. 

André Marty, head of information at the OAGexternal link, on Saturday confirmed information from the Tages-Anzeigerexternal link newspaper at the request of the Swiss News Agency Keystone-SDA that the OAG had opened criminal proceedings against a person based on suspicions of the intelligence services. 

The OAG did not provide any further information on the case. The presumption of innocence applies. 

According to the newspaper, the suspect is a Turk of Kurdish descent who has been living as a refugee in Switzerland for years. He is said to have denounced a man from canton Bern for working for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is considered a terrorist organisation in Turkey but not in Switzerland. The man was arrested in March as he entered Turkey for a wedding. 

The OAG is only at the beginning of its investigations against the alleged informer, according to the Tages-Anzeiger. In order to press ahead with the proceedings, it needs the formal permission of the Swiss government. 

This, the paper said, puts the government in a dilemma: authorising the investigation will cause diplomatic waves with Turkey; not authorising it will open the government to accusations that it tolerates spying by foreign states on Swiss soil.

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