Dutch Counter-Terror Office Concerned over Erdogan Influence on Radical Islamists

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OZAN KOSE/AFP via Getty Images

The Dutch counter-terror office has expressed concern over alleged links between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and radical Islamists of Turkish descent.

An internal memo by the National Coordinator for Counter-Terrorism and Security (NCTV) reported by Dutch media claims the Turkish president could be behind a deliberate Islamisation strategy which is influencing the Netherlands, noting links between Turkish-Dutch organisations and jihadist groups.

The NCTV also linked comments made by President Erdogan in the aftermath of the New Zealand Christchurch mosque shooting in 2019 and a terrorist attack on a tram in Utrecht that took place just a day after his speech, in which he placed the mosque attack “in a context of war between Muslims and Christians”, according to broadcaster NOS.

Critics have claimed that the analysis is incorrect, including, in the case of the Utrecht terror attack, that the assailant, Gökmen T., had called Erdogan a “dog of America” and was a disciple of an Islamist cleric whose movement is at odds with to Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) party.

Dutch Minister of Justice Ferdinand Grapperhaus said the leaked memo is not a complete assessment. The government was still waiting for input from agencies, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other security services.

In recent years, the Netherlands has had a rocky relationship with Erdogan’s Turkey, going back to 2017. The Dutch had banned several Turkish ministers from campaigning to the local Turkish community before a Turkish referendum that year.

Erdogan later criticised the Dutch at a rally in Istanbul saying they were “Nazi remnants, they are fascists”.

Just days after the two ministers were banned, thousands took to the streets of Rotterdam and Amsterdam. Rioting broke out in Rotterdam when protesters attacked police.

Last year, tensions between the two countries escalated again when President Erdogan announced he would be filing a lawsuit against member of parliament Geert Wilders over a cartoon the Dutch firebrand shared on Twitter which depicted Erdogan with a bomb for a turban.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)breitbart.com

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