A report by a German intelligence service claims Turkish religious authorities asked imams based in Germany to spy in schools, looking for people thought to support exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen.
Followers of the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DITIB) were asked by Turkey's state religious authorities to collate information on suspected Gulen supporters, according to The Office for the Protection of the Constitution in North Rhine-Westphalia.
Gulen is the man who has been blamed for the attempted coup to oust President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan from power last July, although he denies any involve,ent.
Cologne-based newspaper Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger has suggested that at least three lists, with a combined total of 28 names, were handed over to Turkish consulates across Germany. Five of these names were reported to pertain to teachers in state schools.
The paper goes on to claim that at least two preachers were ordered to return to Turkey to avoid prosecution in the event they were caught.
The president of the Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK), Thomas Sternberg, has urged for clarity before leveling any accusations at the DITIB.