Two organisations representing Turkish mosques in the Netherlands have tentatively criticised Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Trouw reports on Thursday.
The paper has had contact with both organisations which have dismissed Erdogan’s latest verbal attacks on Europe.
Erdogan said in a speech to journalists on Wednesday that Europeans would not be able to walk safely if they kept up their current attitude toward Turkey
‘If Europe continues this way, no European in any part of the world can walk safely on the streets,’ he said. ‘Europe will be damaged by this. We, as Turkey, call on Europe to respect human rights and democracy.’
Turkey is currently embroiled in a diplomatic row with the Netherlands and Germany over campaign appearances by Turkish officials in support of a referendum to boost Erdogan’s powers.
Yusuf Altuntas of the conservative Milli Görüs organisation, which represents 15 mosques, told the paper: ‘this is not the appropriate language of a president’.
And Fikrit Demirtas, chairman of the Islamic foundation SICN, which has 50 mosques, said: ‘We too are Europeans. We’ve lived here more than 50 years. Are we too soon to face violence?’
Both organisations are concerned at the damage Erdogan’s comments will do for the Dutch Turkish community. Aluntas pointed out that a majority of Dutch Turks are pro-Erodgan said if he continues with such comments, it will be fewer.
‘Leave us in peace,’ Aluntas told Trouw.
A third organisation, Diyanet, which has close ties to Ankara and represents 145 mosques, would not comment. A spokesman told Trouw that the organisation never comments on political situations.
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