Increasing Turkish influence and power over both the Turks and the Muslims in Europe is the single most imminent threat to European security.
The European establishment is looking the other way, while the Turks are slowly increasing their foothold in Europe. The EU prefers to mock Putin rather than confront Tayyip Erdoğan and the AKP. Meanwhile the Turkish state, and especially its ministry of religious affairs, is using the Turkish diaspora in Europe to acquire political power on the continent. There is no separation between state and religion in Turkey. The religious organization Diyanet, which operates under the Turkish ministry of religious affairs, has about 2,000 outposts in Europe. The Gefira team located about 1,300 of them, mostly mosques (see interactive map below). There is no other political or religious organization in Europe with leaders from outside it that has such a widespread network across the European Union, and whose ideology is alien to the native Europeans.
CLICK FOR INTERACTIVE MAP OF DIYANET IN EUROPE
Diyanet in Europe.
Diyanet, the Directorate of Religious Affairs, was established in 1924 to keep control over the religious communities in Turkey. The Kemalists created Diyanet as a replacement for the Shaykh al-Islam, which was the most important spiritual organization within the Ottoman Empire. Since the rise to power of the AKP, the role of religion has been restored in the Turkish domestic and foreign policy. President Tayyip Erdoğan sees the Turks as heirs to Osman Gazim, the founder of the Ottoman empire. Diyanet is the religious organisation that has taken over the role of Shayk al-Islam. Western political strategists should not underestimate the power of Islam and nationalism in combination with Neo-Ottoman ambitions. The head of the Turkish religious organization, Professor Dr Ali Erbaş, tweeted on 6 April: “The fundamental purpose of our existence is to dominate the world”.
During the 1980s, the plan was to integrate Turkey with Europe. When in the 1990s the European establishment accepted mass immigration, the media, academia and political class assured the people that migrants from North Africa and Central Asia would become British, German, French or Dutch – that they were coming to Europe to enjoy European lifestyle and values. The Turks had a special status because they were slated to become an EU member state. Not only was it envisaged that the Turks would become Europeans, but Asia Minor would become Europe.
It may come as no surprise that the Turks have another plan. The hostilities between the Turks and Europeans trace back to the First Crusade when the Turkic Seljuks arrived in the old Christian East Roman Empire, Byzantium. Since then there have been continuous wars between the Europeans and the Ottoman Turks. The Ottomans conquered the Balkans and even reached Vienna. At the end of the First World War, their empire was nearly destroyed by the Great Powers, and the Sultan had to abdicate. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk took power and began to modernise the country, doing away with Arabic influence.
Western analysts believed that Turkey was on its way to morphing into Western culture, democracy, universal human rights, secularism and market capitalism. A thousand years after they entered Anatolia and provoked the First Crusade, Turkish history seemed to have reached its end. A thousand years of hatred and cultural difference between Europeans now seemed to belong to the past. It was just a matter of time and the Seljuks would accept transgender toilets, neo-liberal capitalism run by Wall Street, gay marriage, endless Brussels enforced regulations, and gender equality. At least this is what the European civil servants believed in.
Many ill-informed western academics traveled to Istanbul to portray the city as the bridge between modern Europe and the Islamic world. German state television keeps telling its viewers how the peasants from Anatolia have moved to Istanbul and transformed into cosmopolitan Western-oriented global citizens. The reality is that this mass movement of Turkish Muslims from the countryside into Istanbul converted Istanbul into the launch pad for Erdoğan’s Islamic-Nationalistic party the AKP. The AKP want to reestablish Turkey as an Ottoman Islamic country. The Ottoman empire was never limited to Anatolia. When the Seljuk Turks, the predecessors of the Ottomans, arrived from Central Asia into the Byzantine Empire, they never became a majority. Rather, they took advantage of the fact that the societies and tribes in Asia Minor lacked coherence and a uniting religion. This situation resembles present-day Europe.
Diyanet is nowadays a pan-European political and religious force that not only attracts Islamic and nationalistic Turks, but also appeals to other Muslims who live in Europe. While the Arab rulers despise the Turks, one should not forget that the Turks ruled Mecca and Medina for centuries. Many Muslims in Europe prefer the Turks as their rulers to the native Westerners. The Ottomans in Ankara are trying to unite all Muslim migrants in Europe under the Turkish banner, and they will also have broad support from the less devoted Turkish nationalists.
We do not pretend that we know the exact motivations and strategy of the Turkish ruling establishment; however, their action in combination with common sense gives us some direction.
There is a continuous tension between the Muslim community in Europe and the native Europeans. The European governments cannot afford to have an outright military confrontation with Muslims on the European continent. A war between the Orthodox Christians in the Balkans, whether it is between Serbia and Albania or Greece and Turkey, will have its repercussions in the Islamic communities in the suburbs of Berlin, Paris and Amsterdam. The Islamic population will unconditionally side with their Islamic brethren whether they are Moroccans, Turks or Algerians. In such a conflict any Islamic suffering will stir protests and riots in Western European cities. This divide among the European inhabitants will prevent European leadership from standing by the European Union’s allies Greece and Cyprus, and will force them to refrain from granting support to any party in the current conflict between Greece, Cyprus and Turkey.
We believe that Diyanet (and through it, Ankara) will become the sole mediator between European Islamic communities and the Western authorities. Diyanet is growing into a social-religious organization within the local communities of Europe. Without the aid from Diyanet or other foreign religious organizations, European authorities will not be able to enforce law and order in the Islamic suburbs of Paris, Toulouse or large and small cities in Germany and the Netherlands in the near future. When Diyanet has established itself as the social representative of the many local communities in Europe, regional and national authorities can only keep control over the neighbourhoods through the Directorate of Religious Affairs in Ankara.
Within 10 to 20 years, European cities will be occupied by a majority of non-Western citizens while the European countryside will have a white population. The lack of national identity on the one hand in Europe and the emergence of political Islam on the other gives the Turks the possibility to gain power on the Old Continent. For most Westerners the idea that Hanover or Rotterdam will become Turkish territory sounds as incredible as for most Chinese in 1840 the idea that Hong Kong would become a British enclave. The populations of Rotterdam, Hanover or Marseilles may one day hold a referendum that hands over the power of these cities from Berlin, the Hague or Paris to Ankara. Like the separatists in Crimea who got the support of Moscow, such separatist movements will find full support of the rulers of the modern-day Ottoman empire. While such a scenario seems miles away, those who understand history, geopolitics and demographics realize that it could happen within two or three decades.
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