TurkeyAugust 4 2022, 11:19 am

German Intelligence Says Turkey Seeks to Influence Turkish Communities in Germany; Identifies Main Influence Organization

Germany’s domes­tic intel­li­gence ser­vice recent­ly pub­lished its annu­al “Con­sti­tu­tion­al Pro­tec­tion” report, which details Turk­ish influ­ence oper­a­tions in the coun­try and iden­ti­fies the Union of Inter­na­tion­al Democ­rats (UID) as the most impor­tant Turk­ish influ­ence group: Accord­ing to the report:

June 2022 The activ­i­ties of Turk­ish intel­li­gence ser­vices and secu­ri­ty author­i­ties are flanked by attempts to influ­ence com­mu­ni­ties of Turk­ish ori­gin in Ger­many, which can also have an impact on the polit­i­cal deci­sion-mak­ing process in Ger­man soci­ety as a whole. Pro-gov­ern­ment orga­ni­za­tions pro­mote cur­rent Turk­ish poli­cies in Ger­many and oth­er Euro­pean coun­tries. The largest pro-state or pro-gov­ern­ment inter­est group is the Union of Inter­na­tion­al Democ­rats (UID). The umbrel­la orga­ni­za­tion, based in Cologne, was found­ed in 2004 as a lob­by­ing orga­ni­za­tion for the AKP. The UID now has 15 region­al asso­ci­a­tions through­out Ger­many, which in turn are divid­ed into a large num­ber of local asso­ci­a­tions with mem­ber­ship sta­tus. By now, it pub­licly dis­plays its ties to Turkey by increas­ing­ly hold­ing meet­ings with AKP offi­cials and Turk­ish gov­ern­ment mem­bers. [Trans­lat­ed with DeepL]

Read the full report here.

While the 2020 “Con­sti­tu­tion­al Pro­tec­tion” report for Hesse iden­ti­fied the polit­i­cal lob­by UID and the reli­gious umbrel­la orga­ni­za­tion DITIB as the lead­ing Turk­ish influ­ence orga­ni­za­tions in Ger­many, the 2021 fed­er­al report con­tains no men­tion of DITIB. The Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report has exten­sive­ly cov­ered the activ­i­ties of both DITIB and the UID. Most recent­ly, we report­ed that a series of spon­sored events and social media posts sug­gest that the Turk­ish gov­ern­ment is using both groups to spread its mes­sage on the sixth anniver­sary of the July 2016 attempt­ed coup in Turkey.

The Union of Inter­na­tion­al Democ­rats (UID; for­mer­ly known as the Union of Euro­pean Turk­ish Democ­rats) describes itself as a vol­un­tary NGO  found­ed in 2004 that oper­ates in sev­er­al Euro­pean coun­tries. Its aims include increas­ing Turks’ eco­nom­ic, polit­i­cal, and social activ­i­ties and “sis­ter com­mu­ni­ties” abroad with­out alien­at­ing their iden­ti­ties and val­ues. Its pur­pos­es also include com­bat­ting Islam­o­pho­bia. Ger­man media has described the UID as a lob­by­ing group for Pres­i­dent Erdoğan and his AKP stand, which empha­sizes Turk­ish val­ues and cus­toms. The Ger­man Office for the Pro­tec­tion of the Con­sti­tu­tion mon­i­tors the UID, describ­ing it as “nation­al­ist” and incom­pat­i­ble with Germany’s free demo­c­ra­t­ic order.


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