Concerns at NCTV about role Erdogan on salafism rise in the Netherlands

The National Coordinator of Counter-Terrorism and Security (NCTV) is concerned about the rise of salafism among Dutch with Turkish descent. In an internal note held by HP/De Tijd, the NCTV writes that Turkish President Erdogan is implementing a conscious Islamisation strategy that has an influence in the Netherlands.

Erdogan would give space to salafist, sometimes jihadist organisations that have ties with Turkish-Dutch institutions. That could affect Dutch security, the service thinks.

For example, the confidential note establishes a possible link between the Turkish President‘s anti-western rhetoric and the terrorist attack on a tram in Utrecht in 2019, killing four people.

One day before that attack in Utrecht, Erdogan had spoken about the terrorist attacks on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, in which 49 people died. Erdogan placed it ‘in a context of war between Muslims and Christians‘, quotes HP from the note.

The NCTV confirms to DeccEit the existence of the note, but does not wish to go into its content.

Warning for radicalisation

The report states that the Turkish community is ‘vulnerable to influence from Turkey‘. The connections with Turkey are strong, many Turkish Dutch people vote for Erdogan in Turkish elections. They are also linked to foundations that are in contact with the Turkish government.

In particular, Turkish-Dutch youth organisations would deal with the fundamentalist movement of Islam. The note warns against radicalisation, including online.

Dog of America

There are several criticisms of factually incorrect analyses or at least major improbations that would be contained in the report. For example, the Utrecht tramshooter Gökmen T. is associated with statements by Erdogan.

However, T. is a supporter of the extremist spiritual Metin Kaplan, who strives for an Islamic caliphate. His movement and Erdogan’s AKP are at odds. T. called Erdogan a dog of America.

Also that the report says that Erdogan gives space to Salafist organisations raises questions. Salafists are rivals of the Muslim Brotherhood and that movement is supported by Turkey. Although they are both conservative Islamic movements, there are important ideological differences between Salafists and Muslim Brothers.

Turkey and Qatar are important pillars of the Muslim Brothers, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf States of Salafist movements. Turkey and Saudi Arabia have been rivals for years fighting for influence in the Middle East.

Not yet full-term

The note is not yet ‘analytical reading’, says Minister Grapperhaus of Justice and Security. This means, among other things, that the AIVD and MIVD security services and the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Social Affairs and Employment still have to give their views on them. At the moment, those services are evaluating the report. The NCTV then decides whether the note needs to be amended and published or whether it remains confidential.

The substantive analysis of the report is taken into account in a sketch of security threats released three times a year, says the NCTV. The service expects the next version to be released at the end of March and early April.