Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

Turkish citizens living in Europe are heading to the polls this week to vote on a referendum calling for expanded powers for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Members of Turkish expatriate communities in Germany, France, Austria, Denmark and Switzerland are able to cast their ballots between March 27 and April 9 at Turkish consulates.

When Turkish ministers from the ruling Justice and Development Party infamously tried to campaign for the referendum in Germany and the Netherlands, officials in those countries barred them from doing so, citing security concerns.

The moves prompted Erdogan to fly into a rage and declare: “If Europe continues this way, no European in any part of the world can walk safely on the streets. Europe will be damaged by this.”

Germany might have been able to brush aside the threat if it weren’t home to a sizable Turkish population. Roughly 3.7 percent of the country’s 82 million residents are Turks, and 1.4 million of those Turks are eligible to vote in the referendum.

Philip Haney, a former Customs and Border Protection officer who co-authored “See Something, Say Nothing: A Homeland Security Officer Exposes the Government’s Submission to Jihad,” said it’s an ominous sign for Europe that Turkish ministers felt the need to go into European countries to campaign for a Turkish referendum in front of Europe’s large Turkish population.

“It tells me they view Europe as an extension of their territory, of their sovereignty, of their influence,” Haney told WND. “This is a preview of what we can expect in the time ahead: an inordinate amount of malevolent influence exerted by rulers of countries, in this case in the Middle East, interfering with the sovereign authority of countries in Europe directly, no pretense.”

Erdogan’s threats amount to nothing less than a breach of European sovereignty, in Haney’s view. He noted German and Dutch leaders had the right, as leaders of sovereign nations, to deny entry to the Turkish ministers if they believed their presence would threaten public security.

“Erdogan’s saying that non-Muslim countries don’t have sovereign rights,” Haney said. “He’s saying, ‘If you do something we don’t like, there might be war.'”

Unfortunately, because there are so many Turks living in Europe, European leaders have no choice but to take Turkey’s threats seriously, according to Haney.

“Look what happened when these countries said, ‘No, no campaigning for Turkish leaders in our country.’ What happened?” Haney asked rhetorically. “They had riots.

“These people are supposedly the equivalent of lawful permanent residents, green-card holders. They’re supposed to be pledging allegiance to the countries that they’re going to, not making a fifth column for Turkey, and that’s why they didn’t let the Turkish ministers in. And Erdogan is threatening, ‘Look, this is what we can do. We can have riots in your cities. One word from me and they will break out into the streets.’ A very ominous warning.”

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Michael Maloof, a former senior security policy analyst in the office of the secretary of defense, agreed Europe must take Erdogan very seriously because of the large Turkish diaspora residing in Europe.

“What happened was that by preventing the Turkish leaders from coming in, it got the Turkish diaspora – those are the expatriates living in Europe – to rise up to defend Erdogan in effect,” Maloof told WND.

Maloof, author of “A Nation Forsaken,” believes Germany and the Netherlands should have allowed the Turkish ministers into their countries to campaign. He admitted there was a high prospect of rioting, and the European countries probably made their decision more out of security concerns than anti-Turkish animus, but he still believes the countries could help defuse tensions by allowing the ministers in.

“They should allow the speakers to come in to show that they are forthcoming, to show that democracy is still prevalent,” Maloof suggested. “The Netherlands and Germany basically showed the limitation on their democracy, and you’re dealing with diplomats from another country, and they’re supposed to be a member of NATO. I think the decision should have been to allow them to come in, just provide security, insist that there be security and peaceful gatherings, like we do here, and allow them to speak.

But the Dutch and the Germans basically panicked, in my opinion.”

Maloof said the fundamental problem is that Europe’s large Turkish communities, rather than assimilating into their host societies, remain isolated.

“Turks have never been integrated into the German society or the European society simply because Europeans are fundamentally xenophobic,” Maloof declared. “They believe in homogeneous countries. We saw that as a result of World War II. They’re highly prejudiced against outsiders, and as long as these ethnicities stay within their own enclaves, then the rest of Europe is happy until they start pouring out into the street. And that isolation is what has helped contribute to the rising problem that we’re seeing in Europe of Islamic radicalism.”

Maloof said the social problem has been years in the making, but Europeans have done nothing about it.

“It isn’t an economic issue,” he insisted. “It’s the isolation in the communities – that’s where professional people get radicalized and take off, and you have many Turks and other ethnicities in Europe that have done well economically. They haven’t necessarily assimilated, however, into the economy like we have here in the United States.”

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In addition to threatening European safety, Erdogan also called Turks the “future of Europe” and called on his countrymen living on the continent to have many children as an act of revenge against the West.

“Go live in better neighborhoods,” the president implored. “Drive the best cars. Live in the best houses. Make not three, but five children. Because you are the future of Europe. That will be the best response to the injustices against you.”

Here Erdogan was threatening civilization jihad – the transformation of a non-Muslim society from within so it may eventually be subverted and brought under Islamic law, according to Haney. He pointed out civilization jihad is the ultimate goal of the Muslim Brotherhood in North America, as laid out in the group’s 1991 “Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Brotherhood in North America.”

Although various Muslim clerics have threatened jihad, either violent or civilizational, over the years, Haney does not recall an Islamic head of state openly threatening conflict with the West in his lifetime.

Perhaps Erdogan is trying to position himself as the leader of the worldwide Muslim community, Haney suggested. The Turkish president has already earned that blessing from Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the top cleric and spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood. Speaking at a festival last April, Qaradawi referred to Erdogan as “Sultan,” saying Ottoman sultans were always the best defenders of Islam, and the world’s 1.7 billion Muslims should give Erdogan their allegiance.

Qaradawi declared: “Who can make war with Sultan Recep Tayyip Erdogan? He became the Muslim world’s defender fighting in the name of Islam and the Quran and Shariah. He speaks standing firm in the faces of tyrants to tell them NO!”

Haney noted the Quran seems to condone the destruction of national borders, which is essentially what Erdogan has threatened to do. Sura 13, verse 41 and Sura 21, verse 44 both speak of Allah reducing the borders of non-Muslim nations.

“My point is that Erdogan’s backed by the international Muslim Brotherhood in what he’s doing, and it’s compliant with Shariah law,” Haney said. “Erdogan is basically pushing out his influence with the authorization of well-known, global-level Muslim Brotherhood leaders, and it all complies with the Quran.”

Haney thinks that just as the U.S. needs to pause and reevaluate whether its immigration policy is threatening public safety, Europe should step back and consider whether Turkey can be a trusted EU partner at this point.

“Erdogan doesn’t show any signs of going towards democracy; he’s showing signs of going toward a dictatorship, so just on that alone if they want to maintain the appearance of democratic forms of government, it should put them at pause,” he said.

Maloof, for his part, thinks Erdogan has doomed Turkey’s decades-long bid to join the European Union. He does not believe the Turkish president is gaining any stature in the eyes of the international community by threatening Europe.

“I think people are really fearful of him. They don’t know what he wants to do, plus he’s running against both the U.S. and Russian direction in Syria right now by going after the Kurds, and the Kurds are helping both the Russians and the U.S. in fighting ISIS in Syria,” Maloof said. “So I think he’s already isolated himself pretty much from the EU, but he stands an increasing chance of doing the same toward Russia and the U.S.”

Maloof said Erdogan’s desire to go after the Kurds could rip his country apart.

“It could lead to a civil war; I think it could lead to a civil war inside of Turkey the way he’s progressing right now,” Maloof predicted.

“I think that’s where it’s heading ultimately, because the Kurds are 20 percent of the population, plus he has the Alawite population inside of Turkey. That’s also a large minority inside of Turkey from Syria. So if they all gang up on him, he’s going to have some real issues. Plus, he’s not confident that he has the full support of the military, and the Gulen movement internally has also been able to penetrate a lot of the political and economic fabric of the country to the point that he really doesn’t know who to trust at this point.”

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