The aftermath of the failed coup in Turkey is raising tensions between supporters of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and opponents to his regime including Gülenists and Kurds in Germany.
There are already longstanding tensions between Turkish nationalists and Kurds who support the Kurdistan Peoples Party (PKK) and Kurdish separatist movements from Turkey, both of which live in great numbers in Europe.
The recent failed coup attempt, which the Turkish government blames on supporters of the American-based Imam Fethullah Gülen, is set to inflame the longstanding tensions even further as Turkish nationalists took to the streets in Berlin, Vienna, and elsewhere in Germany to express their support for President Erdoğan, as reported by Breitbart London
In Berlin on Saturday night around 3,000 Turks took to the streets in front of the Turkish embassy. The crowd chanted “Allahu Akbar” to express their support for the president who has ties to Islamist groups and is seen as a proponent of the Islamisation of Turkey. Other cities in Germany saw demonstrations with 1,500 Turks reported protesting in Frankfurt and up to 5,000 on the streets in Essen.
While Mr. Erdoğan and his allies purge members of the military, judiciary, and civil service, supporters of the Turkish president have been quick to attack his opponents in Germany, as well. In the city of Gelsenkirchen around 150 Erdoğan supporters threw bricks at the office of the Hizmet organisation, which has ties to the Gülen movement.
Angriff auf ein Bildungsinstitut der Hizmet-Bewegung in Gelsenkirchen-Hassel
Almanya'da eğitim merkezine saldırı pic.twitter.com/3XqMlTYDaN
— Oktay Yaman (@JournalistYaman) July 16, 2016
Hizmet condemned the coup attempt, following the lead of Mr. Gülen who also condemned the officers who attempted to take power. But Hizmet spokesman Ercan Karakoyun warned: “Since the coup attempt our members are threatened and our facilities damaged,” adding that “the current situation is frightening”. In the wake of the coup attempt Hizmet has been designated a terrorist organisation by the Turkish government.
The Kurdish community have complained about similar hostilities by Turkish nationalists. Chairman of the Kurdish community in Germany Ali Ertan Toprak said: “The tone between the conservative-Islamic and the liberal-secular Turks is sharper and more aggressive,” and warned that there is “no democratic discourse between groups of Turkish origin in Germany”.
One group that the German intelligence services are particularly worried about are the Grey Wolves, who are seen as Turkish ultra-nationalists and far more extreme than Erdoğan supporters.
Many of the demonstrations over the weekend saw Turks using the so-called “wolf greeting” of the group, a hand gesture which is not banned in Germany unlike the Hitler salute. The Grey Wolves clashed with Kurds earlier this year as they marched through the city of Duisburg on Easter Sunday.
In neighboring Austria presidential candidate for the anti-mass migration Freedom Party (FPÖ) Norbert Hofer took the Turkish protesters in Vienna to task by questioning their loyalty to Austria. Mr. Hofer said he was “worried about the demonstrations by Turkish nationals”, and the Grey Wolves in particular who were also seen greeting each other in Vienna.