Turkish government documents obtained by Nordic Monitor have confirmed that critics of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan were spied on by Turkish diplomats in Skopje amid an escalating witch hunt by the oppressive regime in Ankara that is bent on increasing spying activities in other countries to punish Turks who hold dissenting views of the Turkish government.

The documents sent home by Turkish diplomats led to a terrorism investigation of critics on fabricated charges conducted by a Turkish prosecutor.

The documents, incorporated into a criminal case, indicate that the Turkish Embassy gathered information on Turkish and Macedonian citizens believed to be affiliated with the Gülen/Hizmet movement, a group critical of President Erdoğan, and that Turkish educators, representatives of local associations, businessmen and their family members living in the country had been profiled by Turkish diplomats.

The information reported to the foreign ministry in Ankara was later used in a criminal indictment for a charge of terrorism by Turkish prosecutor Adem Akıncı.

According to a December 24, 2018 decision by Akıncı, the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office launched a separate investigation into 78 innocent people who were listed in espionage files dispatched by Turkish diplomats in Skopje without any concrete evidence of wrongdoing. They were charged with “membership in a terrorist group” by Akıncı.

Those files might have been conveyed to the foreign ministry by Tülin Erkal Kara, the then-Turkish ambassador in Skopje between 2016-2019. Kara was elected as a deputy from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in 2013 and served in the Turkish parliament between 2011-2015. A year later, she was appointed by President Erdoğan as his envoy to Macedonia, in 2016.

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