The municipality of Amsterdam once had a fight with the Turkish Milli Görüs over the height of a minaret. The Turks wanted it 42 meters high, the Dutch were not willing to have it rise above 34. A compromise was found at 40. Milli Gorus was founded by former Turkish Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan and it is one of the bastions of power of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. It is one of Erdogan’s “long-reaching arms”, as defined in a report by the Center for Freedom in Stockholm. The Ankara authorities control half of the 500 mosques in the Netherlands.
In the last few days, the “war” between Turkey and the Netherlands has been fought over Turkish ministers who have been barred from holding campaign rallies in Holland. It is the culmination of a year of tensions. The vast majority of the Turkish community in the Netherlands is composed of Erdogan’s supporters and these are ready to resort to any method, including violence.
Erdogan tried to intimidate the freedom of expression of Dutch journalists. He ordered the arrest of Ebru Umar, A Turkish-Dutch journalist who has mocked him on Twitter. Then he tried to sue the De Telegraaf, which published a cartoon of Erdogan as a monkey crushing freedom of speech. And Erdogan’s lawyers have sought to prosecute the comedian Hans Teeuwen, a friend of the slain filmmaker Theo van Gogh, who on radio mocked “the Sultan”. Janny Groen of the Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant reports that Erdogan’s Turkish opponents in the Netherlands are intimidated: “Alevis, Kurds, Turks, seculars and followers of Fethullah Gülen."
The Hizmet movement, accused by Erdogan of being behind the failed coup, has come under attack in the Netherlands. In Eindhoven, an educational center was stoned. Molotov cocktails were thrown at a Turkish foundation in Apeldoorn. The imam Necmi Kaya, who preached for thirty years in the Dutch city of Haarlem, was almost lynched during a visit at the Dutch Selimiye Mosque, under the control of the Turkish Ministry of Religious Affairs.
Journalists of the Zaman Vandaag group, adverse to Erdogan, are called “CIA agents” and threatened. Including the editor, Mehmet Cerit, who requested protection from the Dutch police. A well-known Turkish imam, Halil Celik, said to Cerit that he is ready to “die” for Islam, but also to “kill”.
And then the calls to boycott Turkish companies in the Netherlands owned by Erdogan’s critics. The police department of Rotterdam had to create an ad hoc unit to monitor such cases following the failed coup. Mustafa Ayranci, head of the union of Turkish workers in the Netherlands, said: “People are afraid, like in a tyranny. ‘Who will denounce me?’ they ask."
There was the scandal caused by the Turkish consul in Rotterdam, Sadin Ayyildiz, who secretely asked the Dutch Turks to denounce Erdogan’s critics. Two days later, a Turkish owner of a company, Ali Ekrem Kaynak, was beaten in Amsterdam.
In December, it was discovered that the head of the Religious Affairs unit at the Turkish embassy in The Hague, Yusuf Acar, was spying on behalf of Erdogan. 145 Turkish mosques in the Netherlands are off-limits to many Turkish citizens. The Turkish officer had also drawn up lists of Dutch politicians: the Christian Democratic Party, for example, was accused of being a “Gulenist bastion."
Today's Turkish Sultan wants to subjugate, intimidate and ultimately Islamicize all of Western Europe. Holland is a good place to start. | GIULIO MEOTTI