Voters extended and expanded Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s 15-year power grip in snap national elections on Sunday – but not just inside the borders of his own country, according to a growing chorus of western officials and critics – who claim the AKP leader’s spreading of nationalistic Turkey-branded Islamism is being used as a surveillance tool over the diaspora.
Turkish-funded mosques in the United States centres for political mobilisation - academic
Mosques funded by Turkey in the United States are not apolitical as Ankara claims but are used for religious and political radicalisation, Columbia University’s Director for the Programme on Peace-Building and Rights told Fox News.
“These mosques are not places of worship,” David L. Phillips said. “They are centres for political mobilisation functioning like madrasas, distorting Islam and radicalising youth.”
One prominent recent investment, the broadcaster said, was a $110-million worship centre in Lanham, Maryland, a place neighbouring Washington D.C.
There have been allegations across Europe that Turkish government-funded mosques are being used as intelligence-gathering stations, with potential enemies of the Turkish state identified and reported on, Fox said.
However, the Turkish government has denied the accusations, saying they are part of a smear campaign by the Gülen movement, an Islamic sect that over the past few years has gone from being government allies to being accused by the government of perpetrating a 2016 failed coup attempt.