Last year, a high-ranking AKP officer and a senior member of an organization linked to the Muslim Brotherhood in the United Kingdom established a new think tank called the Centre for Turkish-British Understanding (CTBU) in London. According to the CTBU website:
The Centre for British-Turkish Understanding aims to explore motives and foreign policy challenges faced by both Turkey and the UK, especially where they intersect, which form the foundations of the UK-Turkey relationship. As an independent, non-governmental initiative, CBTU is a platform for debate and discussion on pertinent issues, including but not limited to, political, socio-economic, and cultural economic issues concerning Britain and Turkey as well as the wider region.
The CTBU is headed by Abdurrahim Boynukalin, a former Turkish MP for the AKP who has served as President of the party’s youth wing and as the Deputy Minister for the Youth and Sports Ministry. In January 2019, Boynukalin was appointed as the AKP’s London Office Representative.
(NOTE: This post originally stated that Boynukalin was appointed to be the AKP’s London Office Representative in January 2020. He was appointed to this role in 2019. The relevant text has been correct above.)
The CTBU’s Executive Director is Abdullah Faliq, co-founder of the Cordoba Foundation, headed by UK Muslim Brotherhood leader Anas Al-Tikriti. In 2009, The Cordoba Foundation was described by the (later) UK Prime Minister David Cameron as a “political front for the Muslim Brotherhood.” Faliq is also a senior official of the Islamic Forum of Europe (IFE), the European wing of the Jamaat-e-Islami, the Southeast Asian Islamist movement close to the Global Muslim Brotherhood.
The CTBU has sponsored and supported a number of online events with high-ranking AKP members as well as leaders of the European and US Muslim Brotherhood. They include:
- Anas Altikriti (President of the Cordoba Foundation)
- Ibrahim Kalin (Senior AKP advisor and spokesperson for the Turkish President)
- Nihad Awad, chairman of the US-based Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR)
The Turkish Justice and Development Party (Turkish: Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi; AKP) is the current ruling party in Turkey led by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The party was founded in 2001 by politicians from Islamist political parties who were banned for violating Turkey’s secular order, proclaiming themselves as practicing “conservative democracy” and rejecting the Islamist label. The party narrowly survived an attempt to close it via the courts for violating Turkey’s secularism laws in connection with its lifting of a ban on headscarves at universities. The AKP subsequently, passed constitutional amendments weakening the independence of the military and judiciary. The AKP has close ties with the Global Muslim Brotherhood and operates abroad with representative offices in Europe, notably in Belgium, and has announced its intent to open them in other western countries.