parties in the House of Representatives want the Cabinet to publish as soon as possible a confidential report on the role of Turkish President Erdogan in the rise of salafism in the Netherlands.
The note, which is held by HP/De Tijd, 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 the attack on occupants of a tram in Utrecht, Erdogan talked about the terrorist attacks on mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, in which 49 people were killed. Erdogan placed it “in a context of war between Muslims and Christians”, quotes HP from the note.
Very provisional piece
PVV leader Wilders and the MP Van Kooten-Aariens want the note to be sent to the Chamber and believe that a debate should be held as soon as possible. MPs of VVD, D66, PvdA, SP and GroenLinks also want a quick explanation of the cabinet.
According to Minister Grapperhaus of Justice, this is ‘a non-full-term analysis, which is also criticism‘. That is why he does not think it makes sense to send the report to the House of Representatives. He wants to make the final report public.
“ This is a very provisional piece, but most of the things in it are already reflected in previous threat images from the NCTV,” says Grapperhaus.
The report would show that Erdogan gives room to Salafist, sometimes jihadist organisations that “have ties with Turkish-Dutch institutions”. The National Coordinator of Counter-Terrorism and Security (NCTV) is worried and thinks that this may affect Dutch security.
Previously, a parliamentary interrogation committee investigated the unwanted influence of civil and religious organisations in the Netherlands (POCOB). The influence by the Turkish Government was also investigated.
“ If the analysis is correct, it is not new, but very worrying,” tweets VVD member Yesilgöz. That is why the VVD wants to “ban terrorist groups, tackle weekend schools and ban money flows from non-free countries”.
Green Left Member of the House Van den Berge calls it “very shocking how Erdogan tries to drive anti-western sentiments and extremism in Europe”.
Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists
Moreover, there are several criticisms of factually incorrect analyses or at least large 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 support the Muslim Brothers, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf States Salafist movements. Turkey and Saudi Arabia have been fighting for influence in the Middle East for years.
PVV leader Wilders tweets that it‘s time for Prime Minister Rutte to “show guts and tackle the terrorist Erdogan, stop his influence in NL, put Turkey out of NATO and turn out the Turkish ambassador!”
D66 also wants the report above the table. D66-MP Paternotte speaks of a “new low”. “Until now, it was mainly about strengthening the bond with Turkey itself. If what is said about the report is true, it would be for the first time a commitment that also threatens our security.”
Party leader Segers of the Christian Union calls the Turkish influence in the Netherlands “more than worrying”. As far as he is concerned, the EU must end Turkey’s candidate membership.
Labour Party member Kuiken believes that the cabinet should act hard for the “protection of democracy and the security of Turkish Dutch people. Through, for example, more supervision of informal education and a tougher approach to online hate sowing and radical preachers.”
MP Van Raak emphasises that the final report should be awaiting, but points out that the inquiry by the parliamentary interrogation committee has already shown that ‘undesirable influence is taking place’. “Stopping funding from Turkey can help to counteract this influence,” says Van Raak.
Think-MP Kuzu calls it too early to respond. “Since HP/De Ttijd itself indicates that the report is ‘analytical non-full-term, ‘and there are two security services and twoministries, it is unwise, irresponsible and premature to anticipate this semi-finished product.”