PARIS — A new French intelligence report presented to French President Emmanuel Macron revealed evidence of Turkey’s involvement in illegal activities in the country. The report stated that the Turkish Embassy in Paris has become a center for intelligence activity. Turkish intelligence reportedly established a huge network of 650 religious and community organizations to influence public opinion and spy on government opponents in European countries, most of which operate on French territory.
Several media reports have indicated that Ankara’s espionage activities are financed by hundreds of religious institutions and organizations associated with Diyanet, the Turkish Directorate of Religious Affairs and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). The intelligence report suggested that the Imams selected by Ankara are working to tarnish the image of France among the country’s Turkish community.
Ankara also funds religious schools that do not belong to the French Ministry of Education, where imams loyal to the AKP are often recruited as spies in coordination with embassy in Paris.
In early November 2020, the French government imposed a ban on the Grey Wolves and announced the dissolution of the organization after the National Armenian Memorial Centre was defaced with graffiti with giant letters “RTE”, in reference to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and the words “Grey Wolves”.