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.
- In February 2021, we reported that the leader of a pro-Turkish lobbying group, the Union of International Democrats, was an active member of a Gray Wolves-connected organization.
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