Ankara’s attempt to silence dissidents abroad affects almost all Western countries who struggle to keep up their protections of free speech & protests
Ankara’s attempt to silence dissidents abroad appears to affect almost every Western country, and most of those countries struggle to keep up their protections of free speech and protests.
Turkey is seeking to extradite journalists from Europe, keeping tabs on anyone who critiques Ankara’s regime and also encouraging far-right thugs to attack Kurdish demonstrators, according to dozens of reports. Across Europe, there is a rising attempt by Ankara to meddle in local politics, subvert democratic institutions and prosecute journalists, free thinkers, critics, dissidents and minorities.
Over the last week, protesters in Vienna who expressed opposition to a new Turkish military invasion of northern Iraq were attacked systematically by groups of far-right activists backed by Ankara. According to The New York Times, Viennese police had to protect the protesters from constant attacks by “Turkish nationalists.” Locals said these were members of a group called the Grey Wolves.
To illustrate how Turkey seeks to make sure there can be no protests in Europe against its policies, the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs intervened in Austria, releasing a statement claiming that the protests were “rallies that were organized by the PKK-terrorist organization.” Ankara often claims that anyone who protests or is critical on social media is a “terrorist.” Turkey slammed Austria, claiming it was “allowing PKK propaganda through these rallies” and saying these protests were “unacceptable.”
There is no evidence that any of the peaceful protesters in Vienna engaged in terrorism. Turkey has invaded northern Syria and Iraq, also claiming it is fighting terrorism. In Syria it accused the US of arming “terrorists” even though there was no evidence of any “terrorism” from Syria targeting Turkey. More than 367,000 Kurds had to flee Turkey’s invasions in 2018 and 2019 in Syria.
Ankara has now condemned the Austrian police for protecting protesters in Vienna, claiming they “used violence against Turkish youth.” The statement appears to indicate Ankara was involved in monitoring and perhaps planning the far-right attempt to block the protests in Vienna.
In Germany, Turkey is accused of sending intelligence agents to track down dissidents. The Berlin-based European Center for Counterterrorism and Intelligence Studies reportedly “accused Ankara of using Islamic organizations and public institutions to spy on its opposition in Germany”.
Read more: jpost