Relations between Turkey and Europe have become increasingly strained over the last several years, as many fear that Erdogan is promoting pan-Turkism in the continent. The European Parliament voted to propose the suspension of Turkey’s accession talks for entry into the European Union.
By Arayik Oganesyan
At the end of March, the European Council published a report on the current state of EU-Turkey relations. The document states the prevalence of negative trends in relations between Turkey and Europe, which, according to the authors, is mainly due to Ankara’s aggressive policies towards Greece, Cyprus, countries of Transcaucasia, Central Asia and the Middle East.
Indeed, over the past few years, well-founded accusations against the Republic of Turkey have become more frequent in connection with Erdogan’s increasingly growing imperial ambitions in different parts of Europe and the Eurasian continent. On this background, European expert communities have formed a firm opinion that the current political atmosphere in EU-Turkey relations indicates Ankara’s tendency to strengthen consistent economic and cultural expansion into Europe.
Turkey interferes in ethnic conflicts in Europe
Erdogan’s foreign policy strategy concerns the European community more and more every year. Ankara blatantly interferes in the interethnic conflicts on the Eurasian continent, affording to carry out such audacious actions Erdogan previously could only dream of.
The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict became the last most resonant event with participation of Turkey. Combining menaces and generous promises in a sophisticated manner Erdogan has managed to push friendly Azerbaijan under the leadership of the autocrat Ilham Aliyev to war with Armenia, having deprived freedom-loving Artsakh of considerable part of its territory. At the same time Erdogan encouraged participation of Islamist mercenaries in Artsakh war on behalf of the Aliyev’s regime.
Commenting on the conflict, an Ashgabat-based expert on Turkmenistan Serdar Aytakov said that the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh exposed such a dangerous ideology as Pan-Turkism and the European community recklessly does not take this factor into account in the context of building relations with Ankara.
According to the political scientist, as soon as Turkey manages to implement the Pan-Turkist concept of the “Great Turan”, unite under his scepter Azerbaijan and Turkic-speaking republics of Central Asia, the Turkish “Sultan” begins to realize his “neo-imperial” ambitions in Europe.
Forming a pro-Turkey worldview
Turkey is already particularly active, trying to strengthen its own influence in European countries through the use of such a soft power tool as educational, cultural and religious education. Today, the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) operates in Turkey, which since 2000 has been implementing the Turkology project, aimed at forming a pro-Turkish worldview among the population of more than 20 countries.
In addition, controlled by Recep Erdogan the anti-Western and anti-Semitic organization “National Vision” is actively operating in Europe. So, at the initiative of the organization one of the largest mosques on the continent will be built in the French city of Strasbourg by 2025, which, according to publicist Alexandre del Valle, “will spread Turkey’s expansionist views becoming the main center of Neo-Ottomanism in the region.”
The Strasbourg mosque, executed in the Neo-Ottoman architectural style, will appear in the Meinau quarter of the town, where the largest number of local Turks lives. It is interesting, that the financing of the project with the approval of the newly appointed mayor Jeanne Berseghian was partially entrusted to French taxpayers.
Most of the amount (23.5 of 26 million dollars) was provided by European branches of the Islamist movement “National Vision”. It is known for certain that after brainwashing and psychological manipulation of young French of Turkish descent “National Vision” plans to form a core of Neo-Ottoman ideology adherents in Europe on the basis of the mosque.
Communities in Europe with Islamic laws
Europe is gradually losing its role as a model of inner might and cultural identity, which is especially evident in the example of Germany, where more than three million Turks currently live. Turkish communes in German cities create their own communities where Islamic laws and radical sentiments dominate.
“Islamists skillfully use the tools at their disposal: social networks, cinema and literature to promote their ideas as effectively as possible. Very soon, Islam will blow up European society”, Germany-based Algerian author Boualem Sansal said.
The situation in Great Britain is no better. If attempts of introduction of Sharia practices have been effectively managed to prevent in Germany, then in the United Kingdom, on the contrary, it is being imbedded into legal and state systems more and more deeply. Here under the enormous pressure of Muslim communities the government at the legislative level institutionalized a special system of Sharia courts whose measures are directly opposite to the basis of European secular justice.
Now it is possible to find the evidences of escalating Turkish colonization in state of Europe. For example, aggressors took under control the leading sectors of economy, such as metallurgy, tourism and restaurant business in the Austrian city of Telfs with fifth part of the population – Turks. Turkish speech sounds on the streets, products from Turkey are on sale in local shops, the second Muslim temple of Austria “Eyup Sultan” was opened here, and political life of the city is fully controlled by Turkish descent members of the Council of representatives of a commune of Telfs.
There are also “outposts” of Ankara’s influence in Belgium. So, the Belgian village of Faymonville located in the mountainous area of Ardennes near Liege is shamelessly called “the Belgian Turkey”. It is interesting that nobody speaks Turkish here and no one is of Turkish descent in this settlement. Nevertheless, the influence of Ankara is relentlessly shown in each aspect of local life. The Turkish flag flutters over the city square near flags of Belgium and Wallonia, residents of Faymonville wear traditional Turkish clothes, participate in Muslim festivals and accept Islam in significant numbers.
It is obvious that the leading role in Islamization of the population of European states is played by the Turkish religious structures which are controlled by the Presidency of Religious Affairs of Turkey.
According to Arif Asalyoglu, the CEO of the International Institute of the development of science cooperation, Erdogan aims to mobilize the pro-Turkish masses in the countries of Europe for the purpose of expansion of his predatory policy on the world scene using similar religious associations.
“Future of Europe is Turkish”
This point of view is confirmed by many different reports prepared in the countries of the European Union. So, the deputy of the Austrian Green Party and the speaker on safety issues Peter Pilz in the report called “Be Vigilant, the Turk” declared that Ankara using the Turkish-Islamic Union for Cultural and Social Cooperation set up special “espionage network” in the country.
Turkish anthropologist Aysha Chavdar and sociologist Kemal Bozay are also convinced that Europe has already been affected by the influence of the pro-Turkish structures projecting the Erdogan’s religiousness broadcast onto the all spheres of life from children education to family traditions.
The Austrian immigrant of Turkish origin Inan Tyurkmen shared his thoughts on the Turkish expansionism in Europe. In his book called “We’re coming” he mentioned that the future of Europe is Turkish, whether Europeans want it or not.
“Regardless of whether you (Europeans) like us (Turks) or not, whether you integrate us or not, whether you want to see us in the European Union or not, our influence relentlessly grows in Europe. We are younger, more numerous and also more ambitious. Our economy expands at faster rate. We are stronger”, Inan Tyurkmen emphasized.
In addition, extension of the raw material base has been a long-standing ambition for Turkey. However the process of hydrocarbon searching on the Mediterranean shelf has exacerbated long-standing conflict with Greece and Cyprus whose northern territories were occupied by Turks in 1974.
At the same time Erdogan, having embarked on large-scale geological prospecting in the Mediterranean Sea, has promised to help Turkish Cypriots to receive wide international acceptance of the puppet Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
In these conditions, Europeans naturally cannot help but feel the approach of an imminent catastrophe. Are they able to defend their national identity in the face of Turkish colonization, knocking on the European door just right now? We really hope they are.
Arayik Oganesyan is an Armenian writer based in Ukraine.