Islamist attacks are not individual acts per se, but those of a movement. The new events in and around France show that Erdogan is the leader of this movement. A new terror situation.
Again “Allahu Akbar”. Another beheading in France – this time the victim was a seventy-year-old woman in a church in Nice. There are a total of three dead and several injured. And again there is talk of an individual act, since it is a single perpetrator. But anyone who believes that such Islamist attacks are isolated acts is vastly mistaken. These are individual Islamist attacks that are framed in an Islamist movement. Every Islamist act is an act of the Islamist movement.
Samuel Paty’s beheading was carried out by a single perpetrator, but this murder was prepared for a long time: on the one hand by Islamist backers who acted as instigators; on the other hand through the ideological spread of a radical, political Islam in Europe and worldwide. Every Islamist act is ideologically connected to Islamist movements that are organized in structures and institutions in Europe. In the Samuel Paty case, the instigator was close to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas; he himself had founded a collective that spread Islamist ideologies and hatred.
Islamist movement at a peak
In Europe the awareness that “Islamism” is a movement has been lost. How big and self-confident this movement has become is shown by both protests and terrorist attacks. Because of Emmanuel Macron’s new policy against Islamism, his defense of Mohammed cartoons, the official tribute to the victim Samuel Paty and the provocative Erdogan cartoon by Charlie Hebdo, boycotts and protests against France were triggered on a large scale. French products have been removed from the shelves en masse in Arab countries. Some Arab trade associations joined the boycott. In Pakistan, Bangladesh, Yemen, Syria, Algeria, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Indonesia, yes also in Canada and other countries there were protests against Macron.
French flags and goods are being burned in the Islamic world; hatred against Macron, against western France on the streets, on social networks and media. Calls like “We are the army of Muhammad” – so in Aden in Yemen – call for revenge on Macron and “infidels” in France. What is happening in the Islamic world and in Europe is a radical Islamic movement that is becoming more and more self-confident. During protest marches in Yemen, for example, pictures of the killer of Samuel Paty were carried around, and the murderer was honored as a “defender of God and a martyr”. At least now it should be clear that it is an Islamist movement that is at its peak,which is revealed in terrorist attacks. The new attack in Nice is not an “imitation” of an “individual act”, rather it is a direct consequence of the first act. Both are part of the Islamist movement that has been growing in Europe for decades.
Erdogan as the leader of the Islamist movement
But this escalation directed against France on the streets, in trading markets or in the media was only triggered by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Protests only took place after his hate speeches against Macron. He portrayed France and Europe as hostile to Islam, and spoke of a “persecution of Muslims”. It was also Erdogan who first called for a boycott of French goods. He has furthermore called for protests by the Islamist movement.
The fact that this Islamist movement follows Erdogan is not a coincidental reaction from radical Muslims. Rather, Erdogan has for years established himself as a role model, even as the leader of this Islamist movement. No other head of state has currently promoted political Islam more excessively than Turkish President Erdogan. He proudly shows the rabia and wolf salute – one greets his Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, the other the right-wing extremist gray wolves. It is no longer a secret that he is a direct supporter of the Hamas terrorist organization. In public he established Islam as a political, fundamentalist religion in his country.
He staged the transformation of Hagia Sophia into a mosque, a symbol of political Islam and himself as a savior from the crusaders. This transformation gave the movement a considerable delay, because Erdogan promised to “liberate” the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem as part of a panisalmic awakening – a dream of radical Muslims. He alluded to a “total liberation” of the Palestinians from the Israelis and Jews. The “Allahu Akbar” calls were loud. The movement gained momentum because Erdogan symbolically realized the Islamist goal that Christians and Jews – ergo the “unbelievers” must submit. Erdogan was able to successfully present himself as the leader of all Muslims, who gives Muslims a “resurrection” – as he himself called it. On that day Erdogan crowned himself as a leader of the radical Islamic movement.
Erdogan made the Islamic State strong
A few years ago there was still speculation that Erdogan and the Islamic State would work together. And although we know better today, the European consciousness has not yet reached the extent to which Erdogan is one of the most important, if not the most important supporters of the Islamic State. He was the one who first let ISIS jihadists unhindered across the border into Syria so that they could establish a caliphate there. It is partly thanks to its ability to get so strong. He had ISIS jihadists liberated from northeast Syrian camps that were given a Turkish passport. At that time he delivered weapons to the IS; today IS fighters serve him as his own soldiers both in the nationalist-propagated fight against the Kurds in northeast Syria and against the Armenians in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Erdogan also consciously uses expressions such as “tyranny of the crusaders”, a rhetoric used by IS and al-Qaeda.
It is therefore not surprising that during these protests it is especially ISIS jihadists who, for example, in Istanbul – under the guise of the “Free Syrian Army” – or in the Syrian city of Serekaniye (occupied by the Turkish government and jihadists) with IS – rush to condemn Macron. The Erdogan influence in the Islamic world is meanwhile so great that even Saudi Arabia state supports the boycott of French and Turkish products at the same time for reasons of competition.
The new terror situation
The man who killed Samuel Paty also had contact with an ISIS jihadist in Syria. One has to understand Islamism as a whole as a movement. Because Islamist movements, groups or organizations are now more united under Erdogan than ever before. The idea that Islamist terrorism is largely done by IS is completely wrong. The situation has worsened. Where in the beginning it was mostly terrorist groups who committed planned acts of terrorism, today there is a strengthened Islamist movement that spontaneously commits individual Islamist terrorist acts – this is even more dangerous than the terror situation of the years before.
Salafism is no longer the main problem. It becomes even more dangerous when all these Islamist groups work together more closely. It was Erdogan who gave all Islamist currents worldwide a leader and the hope of realizing Islamist-ideological goals. Recep Tayyip Erdogan is the leader of political Islam and Islamist terrorism. The Islamist movement is strengthened by him, led by him – that is the new terror situation.