Turkey's government strengthens ties with German nationalist Islamist movement

Turkey's governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) has been strengthening relations with Milli Görüş (National Vision), an Islamist group under German government scrutiny, since a failed military coup in 2016, Deutsche Welle reported on Monday.

Executives of Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs, or Diyanet, has held several meetings with Milli Görüş and organised joint events, Deutsche Well said, referring to the German government’s response to a parliamentary question filed by Sevim Dağdelen, a member of the Left Party (die Linkspartei).

The Diyanet has come firmly under the Turkish government’s control since the AKP rose to power in 2002. Its state funding has tripled and the number of staff it employs has doubled.

Milli Görüş, a Turkish-origin political Islamic organisation operating within the Turkish diaspora in Europe, oversees over 300 mosques and has around 350,000 supporters across Europe.

The German government also said that the AKP has links to the Muslim Brotherhood, the Egypt origin pan-Islamist political organisation. Several high-ranking members live in Turkey.

“It is gratifying that the German government officially stated for the first time that Erdogan's ideological and political roots are originated from the anti-democratic Muslim Brotherhood organisation,” DW cited Dağdelen as saying.

“The Islamist-nationalist Erdoğan network is a danger to public safety in Germany and should be destroyed rather than promoted by the German state,” she said.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s members have embraced Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as a “political mentor and close ally”, according to  a report by U.S. think tank Century Foundation. Keynote speakers from the movement have described Erdoğan as “sultan” and Turkey as the house of the “caliphate” during their events.