WWhen the new Federal and State Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution are presented in the coming weeks, Turkey will once again play a prominent role alongside Russia and China in the chapter “Espionage and other intelligence activities”. The Republic of Turkey investigates alleged or actual opposition members among “its citizens” in Germany as intensively as only the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Intelligence services occupy a prominent position in the Turkish security architecture. They not only serve President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Party for Justice and Development (AKP) to obtain information about organizations that are also classified as extremist by the German security authorities, such as the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). It is also about groups or individuals who are suspicious of Erdoğan or who he has declared to be enemies of the state or “terrorists” – and thus about securing and maintaining power.

Because the largest Turkish diaspora community lives in Germany, the Federal Republic remains one of the primary research destinations for Turkish services. “This goes hand in hand with attempts by the state to influence the political decision-making of the community of Turkish origin,” says Jürgen Kayser. The head of the North Rhine-Westphalian Office for the Protection of the Constitution alludes to the fact that the Turkish power and influence apparatus also includes lobby associations such as the AKP foreign group Union of International Democrats (UID), associations of the right-wing radical “Gray Wolves” and, in some cases, mosque communities of the “Turkish-Islamic Union of the State”. Office for Religious Affairs” (DITIB).

“This also has to worry us because the close ties to the Turkish government that are intended through the influence activities make it more difficult to integrate the people of Turkish origin who have lived here for several generations,” says Kayser. “As part of the corresponding propaganda, a victim narrative is constantly being used: Turks are actually not well-liked in Germany.”

Will DAVA win a European mandate?

The youngest child of Turkish influence politics is called the “Democratic Alliance for Diversity and Awakening” (DAVA). The conservative Islamic voters' association founded by Erdoğan supporters at the beginning of the year was approved for the European elections in June a few days ago. The necessary supporting signatures for the voters' association were collected in no time. As if under a magnifying glass, both the network of influence and the victim narrative become clear in the DAVA case.

The chairman has written in the past for TRT Deutsch, an offshoot of the Turkish state broadcaster, and has always taken tough shots at German politicians and journalists who criticize Erdoğan. The top candidate on the European election list was a former spokesman for the UID, followed in second and third place by a veteran DITIB official and a former Millî Görüş official. DAVA would like Mesut Özil to be the advertising face for the election campaign. Because the former German national soccer player clearly shows what the party program is: Özil was a playmaker for the national team and was excellently integrated. Then Özil was ostensibly excluded overnight. With Özil, a bridge could also be built to the right-wing extremist Turkish ethnic “Gray Wolves”, to which the German citizen has declared his allegiance through a tattoo on his chest that is proudly presented online.

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