Dr. Brauns: The Kurdish policy of Germany encourages Turkish fascists and agents
German historian and editor of the Junge Welt newspaper, Dr. Nick Brauns, said that Turkish agents and fascist groups have a wide range of movement and freedom in Germany, adding that the crackdown on Kurds encourages these groups.
As eyes are set on the Berlin-Ankara relations before the presidential and parliamentary elections to be held in Turkey in the coming months, it remains a conundrum what position will be taken by the German state, which has been the biggest supporter of the genocide and war policies of the AKP-MHP government in recent years. During his upcoming visit to Berlin on January 27-28, Turkish President Erdogan is expected to ask for support from the German government before the elections in his country.
Ahead of Erdogan's visit, several officials from the AKP-MHP government visited Germany and held talks with their supporters. AKP Nevşehir MP Mustafa Açıkgöz delivered a speech in one of these meetings last week at a mosque of Turkish fascist groups in Neuss.In his speech, Açıkgöz uttered hateful remarks targeting the Kurds and opposition groups critical of the Erdoğan regime. He said: “We did not let them survive in Turkey. By God's will, we'll find them in their holes wherever they are hiding in the world, and we'll destroy them."
German historian and an editor of the Junge Welt newspaper, Dr. Brauns, spoke to ANF about the Açıkgöz's threats, which sparked public backlash in Germany and the way Turkish fascist groups and agents are organized in Germany.
ENJOYING BROAD FREEDOM
Dr. Brauns pointed out that it is easy to threaten Kurds and opposition groups critical of the Erdogan regime and commit hate crimes in Germany, adding that he was not surprised by Açıkgöz's hateful remarks.
“It is useful to underline the fact that Turkish fascist groups and agents enjoy broad freedom of movement in Germany. So, what is this freedom? These groups have the right to organize, to form associations and to establish a strong network controlled by Ankara. They may even make assassination plans, as in the cases of Yüksel Koç and Cansu Özdemir. Furthermore, preparations to assassinate Kurdish politicians were not even considered a crime, and those who were caught stood trial only for their spying activities,” he said.
“There is no doubt that there are limits to the freedom granted to Turkish agents and fascist groups. The German Federal Government may have warned the Turkish intelligence and the Grey Wolves that ‘you can do whatever you want, engage in spying activities, threaten Kurds and opposition groups, but we don't want murders in our country’. In other words, the German state has agreed to grant rights to these groups except for murders.”
The German historian emphasized that Turkish fascist groups in Germany were much more organized than the ones in other European countries. “Although they are so strong in Germany, they abstain from acts of violence such as those experienced in Austria, France and the Netherlands, apart from some attacks on Kurdish demonstrators and throwing Molotov cocktails. Because, for example, Kurdish centres have been targeted in France, and murders and massacres have taken place in the last 10 years. In Austria, there have been violent attacks against Kurdish and Turkish leftist groups. Similar attacks have also taken place in the Netherlands.”
AÇIKGÖZ'S THREATS WERE DELIBERATE
“Turkish agents and fascist groups in Germany are currently under the control of Turkish intelligence. So, the current situation is a controlled one. Without a doubt, things can change whenever they want,” said Dr. Brauns and underlined that the recent remarks of Mustafa Açıkgöz in Neuss sought to convey a message to the outside rather than to the 'Grey Wolves' in Germany.
“Açıkgöz was aware that he was being recorded on camera while uttering threats. I think that he did this deliberately. Of course, his message is very dangerous, because someone or some groups who are not under the control of the Ankara regime, that is, not directly affiliated with the Turkish intelligence (MIT), can 'take it upon themselves to do something' and attack a well-known Erdoğan regime opponent. For example, the 25,000 Euro reward for journalist Can Dündar might encourage a fascist to carry out such an attack. How the German government will act after Açıkgöz's remarks will determine the course of future events.”
TURKEY WAS ONLY REQUESTED TO 'BE CAREFUL'
Dr. Brauns stated that it was not Turkey’s ambassador to Berlin but only a representative from the Turkish Embassy that was summoned by the German Foreign Ministry in the wake of the incident last week.
“If the ambassador had been summoned and told that 'Germany will never allow such remarks to be repeated or else Turkey will suffer the consequences', then the German government would have given the harshest diplomatic response to Açıkgöz's remarks. The Turkish official was told: 'be careful and stay back or we'll get into trouble with German public opinion. Let me give another example to understand it better. What would be the reaction of the German government if a Russian or Iranian politician uttered these threats and committed a hate crime instead of an AKP member? Germany would be turned upside down and the highest warnings would be given,” Dr. Brauns said.
CRIMINALIZATION POLICIES ENCOURAGE TURKISH FASCIST GROUPS
Dr. Brauns noted that the investigations and trials that involved MIT have ended up with minor punishments in Germany so far.
Regarding the motivation of Turkish fascist groups and MIT agents, he stated: “Minor punishments given by the German judiciary and the non-serious approach of the German security forces encourage those who are connected to Turkey’s spy network. Another thing that encourages Turkish fascist groups and agents is the criminalization policies of the German state against Kurds and other Turkish leftist groups. Since the Kurdish Freedom Movement and radical leftist groups from Turkey are on the 'list of terrorist organizations' and face bans, Turkish fascists and agents come to this conclusion: 'If they are banned here and if they are terrorists, then we are doing the right thing.' In short, Germany’s criminalization policies encourage Turkish fascists and agents.”