Austrian lawmaker says AK Party polarizing Turkish immigrants, Muslims in Europe

Speaking to Today’s Zaman, Aslan criticized the AK Party government’s increasing polarizing and repressive policies, saying there is already growing prejudice against Turks and Arabs with the rise of the radical terrorist group the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and this prejudice will intensify after 129 people were killed in coordinated bombings and shootings orchestrated by ISIL militants in Paris on Nov. 13.

“However, Turkey until recently came to prominence in Europe as a democratic and liberal country but the developments in the last several years and the increasing pressure and threats against the press ahead of the [June 7] election and after has not only damaged the image of Turkey in Europe but also strengthened the hands of rightist parties in Europe. In fact, [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan had the opportunity to protect the image of Muslims and Turks living in Europe but Turkey has already lost this chance,” Aslan said.

Noting the AK Party was very influential abroad in the Turkish election, Aslan said Europe’s efforts for years to achieve full integration between immigrants and Europeans has collapsed due to the AK Party’s polarizing policies.

“The AK Party has polarized and even ghettoized the Turks and Muslims living in Europe,” Aslan highlighted.

When asked how Turkish immigrants in Europe are reacting to this ghettoization process designed by the AK Party’s polarizing policies, Aslan said there has been no major reaction because the AK Party government has been very successful in manipulating the dilemmas and weaknesses of Europe’s immigration policy in line with its own interests. “There is a ready audience who can be manipulated very easily due to wrong integration policies and they make their choices based on the politics of their home country. It has come to such a point that an imam in a mosque [in Europe] is able to openly tell people to vote for the AK Party in the election,” Aslan maintained.

When reminded that 67 percent of Turkish immigrants in Europe voted for the AK Party in the Nov. 1 snap election, Aslan pointed to a dichotomy in terms of the choices of European Turks. She says Turkish immigrants vote for liberal parties that protect the rights of minorities and immigrants on the continent, but vote for a repressive and authoritarian party in Turkey. “This is a contradiction that exposes a serious social and political depression in terms of Turkey. But we [Turks] are not aware of this. Turks are going through a very serious situation. But we are not doing anything to treat this because we avoid diagnosing it.”

SOURCE: TODAY’S ZAMAN

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