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President Erdogan. Photo from Pixabay/Turkish flag. Photo credit: Abdurrahman Erbaş

French intelligence services are alarmed at growing influence of Turkish power

According to information from a French weekly, Turkish power exerts an increasingly important influence on French territory.

Published: February 10, 2021, 2:02 pm

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    While the tension between France and Turkey has increased over the past year, the French intelligence services are alarmed by the growing influence of Turkish power reported Journal du dimanche (JDD). In its edition of February 7, several reports sent to the Élysée by the General Directorate of Internal Security (DGSI), the General Directorate of External Security (DGSE) and the Intelligence Directorate of the Prefecture of Police (DRPP) at the end of October 2020 alerted the executive on an infiltration strategy orchestrated from Ankara via the Turkish embassy and MIT, the Turkish spy service.

    French intelligence services estimate that Ankara exercises “control of the Turkish community” through 650 associations, coordinated by a confederation represented not only in France but also in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. According to JDD, Erdogan can rely on a strong popularity with the diaspora in France and throughout Northern Europe. “He wants to nip any dispute in the bud,” explained the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the columns of the weekly. For example, the Turkish government has woven a network of schools intended to educate children according to the precepts of the AKP, the conservative Islamist party founded and led by Erdogan.

    On an official visit to Paris on January 5, 2018, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told the leaders of the French Council for Muslim Worship (CFCM): “The Muslims of France are under my protection. Those who touch you touch me.”

    “The problem is that these are future binationals,” said a French security expert. “French people who are trained by a foreign state to be sensitive to Islamist theses.”

    Finally, according to the secret services, the Erdogan regime affects “French political life by relying on binational candidates in local elections”. This discreet offensive was detected especially in Alsace, geographically close to Germany, cradle of the Turkish community in Europe, and where the concordat of 1801 still applies (by exception to the law of 1905 on secularism) , offering facilities to religious organizations subject to Ankara.

    One of the reports that the JDD was able to read, denounced an interference doomed to “influence the political decisions” of certain communities. According to another, “the DGSI was able to observe the implementation of stratagems aimed at presenting Franco-Turkish candidates on the maximum number of lists in the same city, so that the winner has at least one Turkish running mate who can help defend Ankara’s interests”.

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