A series of sponsored events and social media posts suggest that the Turkish government is using local groups to spread its message on the sixth anniversary of the July 2016 attempted coup in Turkey. In Stuttgart, Germany, for example, the Women’s Branch of the pro-AKP lobbying organization Union of International Democrats (UID) tweeted a video with the text:
UID Württemberg Regional management and women’s branches had an emotional program under the moderation of our youth. We commemorated our martyrs of July 15, and said that we have not forgotten and will not let them forget… (translated by deepl.com with edits)
The video indicates the DITIB Mosque in Stuttgart Feuerbach was the event’s site. DITIB made similar tweets in Milano, Bonn, Strasbourg, and the Millî Görüş youth associations in Brussels and Rotterdam, among others.
The Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DITIB) manages over 900 mosques in Germany. At the same time, the Turkish Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) determines the theological guidelines for imams’ sermons, and the Turkish consulate pays their salaries. DITIB, however, maintains that it is independent of the Turkish state. German politicians have sought to have imams trained in Germany instead of sent over from Turkey, partly to reduce Turkey’s influence in the country.
Millî Görüş is a Turkish religious and political movement founded by Necmettin Erbakan, Erdoğan’s political mentor, which has called for an end to the secular regime in Turkey. In Germany, Millî Görüş operates as the Islamische Gemeinschaft Millî Görüş (IGMG), which oversees the work of Millî Görüş chapters in at least 12 European countries and states that it has over 127,000 members worldwide. The GIOR has reported about the German government’s assertion that Turkish President Erdoğan’s AKP party has intensified its relations with Millî Görüş in Germany.