ANKARA, Turkey, Aug. 18 (UPI) -- The Turkish government sought an explanation Monday regarding German media reports that Germany's intelligence agency had spied on Turkey since 2009.
The German ambassador in Ankara was summoned after the Turkish government demanded "a formal and satisfactory explanation" to reports the Bundesrichtendienst (BND), the German government intelligence agency, listened in on phone calls of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his predecessor Hillary Clinton, as well as those of Turkish political leaders.
The claims come less than a year after the United States was chastised for similar spying allegations by Germany. Kerry his believed to have brought the matter up in conversations with his German counterpart, Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
"Make no mistake: this is a disaster for the government. Either they knew what the BND was up to and acted in the most hypocritical way possible, or they didn't know, which is just as problematic," said German Parliament member Konstantin von Notz.
The revelations could be as damaging for Germany's relationship with Turkey as the previous expose was for U.S. relations with Germany. Both Turkey and Germany are NATO members, but German politicians spent the weekend downplaying the alliance between the two countries, instead focusing on tensions on Turkey's border with Syria and Iraq, and the actions of a prominent Turkish political party, the Kurdistan Workers Party, which is regarded by the United States and the European Union as a terrorist organization.
"When you've got three million Turks living in Germany and there are Turkish organizations in this country that are classified as terrorist associations, then I think it is only common sense to do everything to find out how they are being supported from Turkey," Andreas Schockenhoff, policy analysts for Germany's ruling Christian democrat party, told the newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung.