Germany acting against Turkish radical group
by Lorenzo Vidino
May 19, 2005
For years German authorities have tolerated the activities of Milli Gorus (National Vision), a Turkish Islamist group that operates throughout Europe but receives its strongest support from Germany's large Turkish population. Apparently, things are changing. The 2004 annual report released by Germany's Interiors Ministry revealed that, of the 31,800 suspected radicals living in the country, 26,500 are members of Milli Gorus. More significantly, yesterday, a court in Wiesbaden revoked the German citizenship of three Turkish men because of their failure to disclose their affiliation with Milli Gorus.
German security agencies have repeatedly warned about Milli Gorus' dangerousness. Even though the group has never resorted to violence, it plays an important role in radicalzing and preventing the integration of the large Turkish immigrant community. Already in 1999 Germany's Office for the Protection of the Constitution was warning that, "although Milli G?, in public statements, pretends to adhere to the basic principles of Western democracies, abolition of the laicist government system in Turkey and the establishment of an Islamic state and social system are, as before, among its goals."
It is also important to note that Milli Gorus has always had close links to former Turkish prime minister Nehmettin Erbakan and his now-banned Refah Party. The current Prime Minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, grew up politically in the Refah and became mayor of Istanbul while still a member of the party.
Germany's change of attitude towards Milli Gorus could potentially heighten the tensions that the talks about Turkey's entrance into the EU have already created over the last few months.