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Austrian Government Center Publishes Report About Turkish Islamist Groups

July 6th, 2021 12:58

An Aus­tri­an gov­ern­ment research cen­ter has released a report about three Islamist groups oper­at­ing in Aus­tria,  includ­ing two known to have rela­tion­ships with the Turk­ish gov­ern­ment. Accord­ing to the Doku­men­ta­tion­sstelle Poli­tis­ch­er Islam press release:

May 28, 2021 New basic papers reveal struc­tures and ten­den­cies of Polit­i­cal Islam in Aus­tria. The Doc­u­men­ta­tion Cen­ter for Polit­i­cal Islam has pub­lished three analy­ses on ATIB, Mil­lî Görüş and the Grey Wolves.

The analy­sis of ATIB pro­vides an overview of the his­to­ry, struc­tures, and con­nec­tions of the largest mosque asso­ci­a­tion in Aus­tria, with more than 60 mosque insti­tu­tions. ATIB is linked to the Diyanet, the Pres­i­den­cy for Reli­gious Affairs of the Repub­lic of Turkey. Direc­tor Fell­hofer: “On an ide­o­log­i­cal lev­el, the goal is to bind the pop­u­la­tion of Turk­ish ori­gin in Aus­tria to Turkey. In the long term, this is intend­ed to pre­serve and pro­mote a Turk­ish-Islam­ic iden­ti­ty out­side Turkey.” A clear indi­ca­tion of the con­nec­tion to the Diyanet is the strong net­work­ing with the cur­rent reli­gious attaché of the Turk­ish Embassy, Ibrahim Yazar. The lat­ter reg­u­lar­ly preach­es at ATIB mosques as part of Fri­day sermons.

The report on Mil­lî Görüş shows that the Mil­lî Görüş move­ment is cur­rent­ly rep­re­sent­ed by 48 insti­tu­tions in Aus­tria. The Mil­lî Görüş under its found­ing father Erbakan can be seen as the most promi­nent move­ment of Turk­ish-style polit­i­cal Islam. The Mil­lî Görüş move­ment is also strong­ly active in youth and edu­ca­tion­al work and oper­ates, for exam­ple, four stu­dent dor­mi­to­ries in Austria.

The basic report on the Grey Wolves (also: Ülkücü move­ment) pro­vides an overview of the his­to­ry, ide­ol­o­gy, and struc­tures of this move­ment, which is also present in Aus­tria. Region­al focal points can be found in Vien­na, Upper Aus­tria, as well as Tyrol and Vorarl­berg. The move­ment is char­ac­ter­ized by a racist, vio­lence-glo­ri­fy­ing, right-wing nation­al­ist, and part­ly Islamist ide­ol­o­gy. Their ide­ol­o­gy can be seen as inhibit­ing inte­gra­tion and prob­lem­at­ic for social peace. [Trans­lat­ed by DeepL with edits]

Read the rest here.

Full reports can be found here.

The “Polit­i­cal Islam Doc­u­men­ta­tion Cen­ter” (Doku­men­ta­tion­sstelle Poli­tis­ch­er Islam) was launched in 2020 by the Aus­tri­an gov­ern­ment and research­es reli­gious­ly moti­vat­ed polit­i­cal extremism.

The Turk­ish-Islam­ic Union of Aus­tria (Avus­tu­rya Türkiye İsl­am Bir­liği; ATIB) is sim­i­lar to DITIB in Ger­many and France as its imams are paid by Turkey and sent by the Diyanet, Turkey’s Reli­gious Affairs Min­istry. Fur­ther­more, ATI­B’s for­mer chair­man was also the reli­gious attache at the Turk­ish Embassy.

Mil­lî Görüş is a Turk­ish Islamist move­ment found­ed by Necmet­tin Erbakan, Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Erdoğan’s polit­i­cal men­tor.  Mil­lî Görüş has called for an end to the sec­u­lar regime in Turkey. The Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report (GIOR) has report­ed on Ger­man gov­ern­ment asser­tions that Erdoğan’s AKP par­ty has inten­si­fied its rela­tions with Mil­lî Görüş in Germany.

The Gray Wolves are a right-wing, pan-Turk­ish, ultra­na­tion­al­ist Turk­ish youth and street move­ment found­ed in the 1960s. Ger­many’s Fed­er­al Office for the Pro­tec­tion of the Con­sti­tu­tion describes the Gray Wolves as spread­ing nation­al­ist and right-wing extrem­ist ide­ol­o­gy and as con­nect­ed to the Turk­ish ultra­na­tion­al­ist Nation­al Action Par­ty (MHP), the AKP’s gov­ern­ment coali­tion part­ner. How­ev­er, the MHP “rejects any organ­ic ties” with the Gray Wolves. A May 2021 EU Par­lia­ment report has called on the EU and its Mem­ber States to con­sid­er plac­ing the Gray Wolves on the EU ter­ror list.

Oth­er rel­e­vant GIOR report­ing has included:

  • In May 2021, we report­ed that Pres­i­dent Erdoğan and the Turk­ish Defense Min­is­ter met with the heads of the Ger­man branch­es of DITIB, Mil­lî Görüş, and a Gray Wolves umbrel­la orga­ni­za­tion, among others.
  • In March 2021, we report­ed that the French gov­ern­ment was attempt­ing to stop the French branch of Mil­lî Görüş from receiv­ing a local gov­ern­ment subsidy.