The Turkish government denounced a Berlin police raid on a mosque in the German capital as Islamophobic and racist. Ibrahim Kalin, spokesman for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, wrote on Twitter on Friday that the “ugly action” violated the sanctity of the house of God and the principle of religious freedom in Germany’s constitution.
Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay asked the Berlin prosecutor and the police to apologize to the Muslim community. The president of the Turkish Religious Bureau, Ali Erbas, accused the German authorities of having a “hateful attitude” towards Muslims.
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Berlin police searched the Mevlana mosque in Kreuzberg on Wednesday for suspected fraud involving Corona emergency aid. Ankara’s harsh criticism of the actions of the Berlin authorities speaks of the Turkish government’s claim to be the protector of Turks and other Muslims in Europe – and its attempt to please its own conservative supporters.
Uncertainty about Corona aid
According to the prosecution, three suspects have filed for unjustified corona emergency aid and in at least one case the Mevlana Mosque report has been used. The damage caused by the alleged fraud therefore amounts to 70,000 euros. 150 police officers were involved in the search of the mosque and five other addresses.
A board member of the mosque association had applied for 14,000 euros in emergency aid, Tagesspiegel learned from security circles. The association is considered a non-profit, but the Corona emergency relief is only for traders and only if they have suffered financial losses. On the other hand, the mosque’s board of directors said it rejected the charge of fraud. During morning prayer, the police broke into the church and broke open a door and the donation box.
Erdogan always breaks arguments off the fence
The Turkish government is throwing fuel on the fire and condemning the Berlin case as an attack on Islam. The head of the Religious Bureau, Erbas, said no pretense justified the “discriminatory and disrespectful” treatment of Muslims. The Turkish Foreign Ministry criticized that it was inexcusable that the German police officers had entered the mosque’s prayer room in boots. The police intervened in the capital of a country “that wants to give different lectures on freedom of expression and religion”.
Erdogan often accuses the West of Islamophobia. A few days ago, he attacked plans of French President Emmanuel Macron, who wants to combat Islamic ‘separatism’ in France and foreign influence on French Muslims. Macron wanted to “settle old scores with Islam and the Muslims,” Erdogan said. There are politicians who are troubled by the “rise of Islam” and are seeking excuses “to attack our religion,” added the Turkish president.
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Critics accuse Erdogan of constantly putting forward new arguments to satisfy his own voters and his right-wing nationalist partners. These tactics also serve to divert the president’s attention from the crisis in the Turkish economy.
In any case, Erdogan is successful in the short term. According to a survey by the Metropoll Institute, his approval score rose from nearly 48 percent to more than 52 percent between August and September, as tensions with Greece escalated in the Mediterranean. Although the rate of the lira and economic development fell sharply, Erdogan benefited from his “foreign policy adventures,” said US economic expert Steve Hanke after the Metropoll survey.