Photo: Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, meets President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul in 2015 Credit: AFP
24 February 2017 • 1:28am
Turkey’s government has reportedly called on teachers and parents in western Germany to spy on classes at German schools and report any criticism of president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The Turkish consulate in North Rhine-Westphalia even told attendees with Turkish roots at the “information events” that their children should film their teachers and pass on any proof to them, reported newspaper the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung (WAZ) reported.
At the evenings, held in Düsseldorf, Essen, Cologne und Münster in January and also attended by imams, parents and teachers were told to report any critical comments about Turkey’s government they witnessed in schools, according to information from the Union for Education and Science (GEW).
“We have heard from various different sources that people were told to report every piece of criticism of Turkey, which had been heard at schools in North Rhine-Westphalia, to the consulate,” said GEW spokesman Sebastian Krebs.
“The consulate also encouraged parents to tell their children to film teachers and pass on the evidence to Turkish authorities.”
Photo: People wave Turkish flags during a campaigning event with the Turkish prime minister in Oberhausen, western Germany, earlier this month Credit: AFP
Mr Krebs said that at the Düsseldorf evening, teachers demonstratively refused to comply with the demand to spy on their schools.
Germany’s state security is looking into the incidents and is trying to get in contact with affected teachers.
The GEW also claims it has syllabuses for classes on the Turkish language and culture, which the consulate provided to teachers.
“These syllabuses are heavily coloured by nationalism,” said Mr Krebs.
But Ali Sak, a representative of the Turkish Parents Association of Germany (Föted), defended the meetings, telling WAZ that many parents with Turkish roots complain that the Turkish government is misrepresented in German schools.
“These parents don’t have anyone who they can talk to about this other than the consulate,” he said. “The real reason they were invited was so that they could discuss this problem with the consulate and with parent associations.”
The Turkish consulate has not commented on the accusations.
It comes on the back of accusations earlier this month that imams from the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (Ditib) spied in Germany on Turkish followers of US-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen, whom Erdogan blames for last July’s failed coup attempt against him.