Erdogan’s Islamic Vehicle to the Balkans: Ottoman Symbolism in Kosovo

Hits: 724

A billboard at a construction site, with a photo of an Ottoman-style mosque with four minarets and the flag of Turkey, was erected recently in the center of Pristina, the capital of Kosovo. With less than 2 million people, Kosovo, which declared its independence from Serbia in 2008, is the home of over 800 mosques. Now the Islamic Community of Kosovo is building the “Central Mosque” at an estimated cost of $35- $40 million. Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) is financing the project.

The Diyanet also financed the building of a similar mosque on a 10,000-square-meter parcel of land on George W. Bush Street in Tirana, Albania, the largest mosque in the Balkans, along with dozens of other mosques across neighboring countries. Turkey’s president Erdogan has put in the field two state organizations, Diyanet and the Turkish Development Agency (TIKA), as vehicles through which Turkey could enhance its Islamic influence in the Balkans.

Diyanet is the official state institution whose role is “to execute the works concerning the beliefs, worship, and ethics of Islam, enlighten the public about their religion, and administer the sacred worshiping places.” Diyanet is also responsible for the religious affairs of the Turkish diaspora. In Germany alone, it administers 970 mosques with imams trained by the organization.

Austria was the first country to realize that the mosques built with Erdogan’s money are used for political purposes to promote his Islamic agenda. In June 2018, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz ordered the closing of seven mosques built by Diyanet, and deported 60 imams and their families with ties to Turkey as part of the ‘fight against political Islam.’

In February 2016, German law enforcement revealed that clerics from the organization were involved in espionage against Gülen’s followers. Two years ago, Cumhuriyet, an independent Turkish newspaper, reported that Diyanet was very active in collecting intelligence, specifically on the activities of Gülen sympathizers in 38 countries across Europe, including Germany and the Balkans. Accusations of espionage by the organization have existed since the 1990s, but these revelations pointed to far more extensive operations than were previously thought.

Meanwhile, Diyanet has extended its religious program to countries whose connection to Ottoman history is tenuous by building over 100 mosques outside Turkey. The president of Diyanet, Ali Erbaş, said that they have extremely strong relations with Balkan countries and stressed that this cooperation will continue in the future, especially in relation to religious education, services, and publications. He emphasized the importance and affinity of Turkey to the Balkans and added,

“The Balkans have a special place for us. Our historical ties will continue as they have done in the past.”

Ironically, while most of the Balkan countries suffer from unemployment, lack of foreign investments, and rampant poverty, Erdogan’s investments are focused on mosques and religious educational institutions at a time when Kosovo’s unemployment rate is 30%.

Lulzim Peci, former Ambassador of Kosovo to Sweden and Executive Director of the Kosovo Institute for Policy Research and Development (KIPRED), is one of the most critical voices in Kosovo against Erdogan’s political Islamic scheme. He agrees that the mosques built in Kosovo are political establishments to promulgate Erdogan’s Islamist vision.

“In the case of Kosovo and Albania, the tens of millions of dollars invested in building mosques has to do with the symbol of Turkish supremacy and influence, not only religious but also political”, says Peci.

Erdogan’s enormous investments in Ottoman symbolism are designed to influence the mindset of the population in Kosovo and increase the pro-Turkish-Islamist sentiments on the present and future generations. The Islamic ideology that Diyanet promotes caused wide-spread indignation even in Turkey. Diyanet stated that girls can become pregnant and therefore get married at the age of 9 years old, and boys at the age of 12. Thus, the concerns over Diyanet activities are not limited to building mosques, but its cultural and societal influence based on radical Islam.

One day following the failed coup in Turkey, crowds of Albanians and Bosniaks in Macedonia, Bosnia, Albania, and Kosovo demonstrated in support of Erdogan and his government.

“It clearly visualized the potential and mechanisms that Erdogan has in the Balkans and the Diaspora, on which he capitalizes and uses whenever he wants”, says Xhemal Ahmeti, a historian and expert on Southeast European issues.

“Unfortunately, Albanian mosques thus, are confirming the thesis of Swiss Islamist Saida Keller-Messahli in her book Islamic Centrifuge in Switzerland, where Albanian mosques in fact are radical centers serving this kind of Islamic agenda for the radicalization of Albanian Muslims in favor of Erdogan’s politics”, says Ahmeti.

Visar Duriqi, a Kosovo journalist specializing in religious affairs, said that the project for the construction of the mosque with Turkish funds sends a clear political message by Erdogan to the effect that he has control over this region.

“Kosovo” says Duriqi “is a country that does not need more religious buildings, certainly not ones funded by Erdogan.”

Mosques are increasingly being used to spread political Islamic ideologies to a point where only limited room is left for actual prayers.

“It is no longer a question of whether those establishments are necessary, because the goal is to build as much as possible in order to strengthen the political influence from the Middle Eastern countries and Erdogan’s Turkey”, says Xhelal Neziri, an experienced investigative reporter from Macedonia.

In the countries with majority Christian populations in the Balkans, such as Serbia, Macedonia, and Croatia, Turkey is investing in major development projects, while in Albania the investments are geared mainly toward building Islamic religious institutes.

“It has been shown that the most powerful and sustainable influence in this region, especially among Albanians, is made precisely through the instrumentalization of the religion”, says Neziri.

To be sure, anyone who even scarcely follows Erdogan’s ambitions in the Balkans cannot escape the conclusion that the Turkish leader had a specific, well-articulated Islamic agenda which he is determined to entrench in the psyche of the Balkan people by building mosques and appointing imams that follow his doctrine. It is part and parcel of Erdogan’s vision to restore elements of the Ottoman Empire under his leadership.

Erdogan himself and many other Turkish officials have openly spoke about their dream that by 2023, the centenary of modern Turkey, the country will enjoy as much sway and influence that was once enjoyed by the Ottomans. Erdogan uses Diyanet as one of his main vehicles to that end.

For the Balkan states, this will certainly turn out to be nightmarish unless they prevent Erdogan from exploiting them in the name of Allah, while debasing Islam to serve his long-term menacing plot.


Originally published on 2018-10-19

About the authors:

Dr. Alon Ben-Meir is a professor of international relations at the Center for Global Affairs at NYU. He teaches courses on international negotiation and Middle Eastern studies. alon@alonben-meir.com  Web: www.alonben-meir.com

Arbana Xharra authored a series of investigative reports on religious extremists and Turkey’s Islamic agenda operating in the Balkans. She has won numerous awards for her reporting, and was a 2015 recipient of the International Women of Courage Award from the US State Department.

Source: Global Research

Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection & Pinterest.

Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!

Donate to Support Us

We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.

[wpedon id=”4696″ align=”left”]

READ MORE!
America Aggression: A Threat to the World
The war machine that is the United States of America, not content with threatening the world with its missile attack on a Syria airbase, not content with massing its forces around the Korean Peninsular and threatening to murder its leaders and massacre its people, not content with its escalating hostility towards Russia and China, decided the world needed one more demonstration of its power today, Thursday, April 13 by dropping its most powerful non-nuclear bomb on an Afghanistan saturated with its bombs. This demonstration, using a GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Blast Bomb (MOAB), that the Americans like to call the ‘mother of ...
READ MORE
Bearing the Burden
This article about the United States bearing the burden with allies first appeared in the Fall 2016 issue of Providence‘s print edition that was released last December. To read the original in a PDF format, here. To receive a complete copy of future issues as they are published, subscribe here.“It’s important to make sure our alliances are as strong as they possibly can be,” a presidential candidate declared not long ago. He promised to “work with our European friends” and explained that “building a durable peace will require strong alliances.”[i]Striking a similar theme, another candidate promised “to work in concert with ...
READ MORE
Countering NATO Propaganda on Russia: NATO Intervention in Afghanistan, Kosovo, Libya, Ukraine
Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part VA follow-up of Professor Vladimir Kozin’s comments on NATO’s Fact Sheet about relations with Russia published in December 2014. The topics to be covered in this part:NATO’s operation in Afghanistan was a failure;The NATO-led mission in Afghanistan failed to stop the Afghan drugs trade;NATO’s operation over Libya was illegitimate;NATO’s operation over Kosovo was illegitimate;The cases of Kosovo and Crimea are identical;Russia’s annexation of Crimea was justified;The Ukrainian authorities are illegitimate.NATO’s operation in Afghanistan was a failureNATO claim: NATO took over the command of the UN-mandated International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan ...
READ MORE
How Belgium is being Forced to Confront the Bloody Legacy of King Leopold II
As 10,000 people took to the streets of Brussels on Sunday (7 June 2020) to protest as part of the Black Lives Matter movement, there was one landmark which drew their ire more than any other: the equestrian statue of King Leopold II outside Belgium’s royal palace.“Murderer!” the protesters cried as they climbed the statue and waved the flag of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Had the statue been flimsy enough to pull down they would have done it, just as fellow BLM protesters toppled Edward Colston’s statue across the channel in Bristol. Estimates vary, but the consensus figure is ...
READ MORE
The USA Bombing List: The Democracy World Tour
Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection & Pinterest.Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!Donate to Support UsWe would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.[wpedon id="4696" align="left"]
READ MORE
The West vs Russia: Towards the End of a Pax Americana?
A peaceful dissolution of the USSR according to the agreement between Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan in 1988 in Reykjavik brought a new dimension of global geopolitics in which up to 2008 Russia, as a legal successor state of the USSR, was playing an inferior role in global politics when an American Neocon concept of Pax Americana became the fundamental framework in international relations. Therefore, for instance, Boris Yeltsin’s Russia capitulated in 1995 to the American design regarding a final outcome of the USA/EU policy of the destruction of ex-Yugoslavia in November 1995 (the Dayton Agreement) followed by even worse ...
READ MORE
Edward S. Herman: The Politics of the Srebrenica Massacre
“Srebrenica” has become the symbol of evil, and specifically Serb evil. It is commonly described as “a horror without parallel in the history of Europe since the Second World War” in which there was a cold-blooded execution “of at least 8,000 Muslim men and boys.” [1] The events in question took place in or near the Bosnian town of Srebrenica between July 10 and 19, 1995, as the Bosnian Serb army (BSA) occupied that town and fought with and killed many Bosnian Muslims, unknown numbers dying in the fighting and by executions. There is no question but that there were ...
READ MORE
Donald Trump – A Super Zionist?
What could cause Russia to invade Israel At the time, Israel’s Prime Minister had flown to Washington, and was making a desperate bid to get Obama’s support for Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. Only a few weeks earlier a discovery had been made that would serve to increase tensions on the question of sovereignty over the Golan – huge oil deposits were found on the Golan Heights, and verified by an Israeli company. Yet, weeks later, Benjamin Netanyahu returned to Israel having failed to secure Obamas support. It wasnt long before the United Nations – including Russia – condemned Israels “occupation” of the ...
READ MORE
Serious Drawbacks in Ukraine’s Adopted ‘Church’ Bill
On January 17, Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada (parliament) passed the bill No. 4128 on new amendments regarding the subordination (denomination) of religious organizations and the procedure of state registration of religious organizations with the status of legal entities. The relevant law No. 2673-VIII was signed by President Poroshenko on January 28 and came into force on January 31, 2019.Though the bill was designed to simplify the process of changing the religious subordination of a religious community, it actually introduces a new, more complicated scheme of registration and reregistration for religious organizations of all confessions including Protestants.So, reregistration becomes not just a ...
READ MORE
The “Pro-Western Revolution” in Ukraine has been a Fascist-infested Fraud
The great deception of “a real democracy” in the Ukraine, which the New York Times insisted on 31 March 2019, shows little sign of relenting. For five years, Western populations have been consistently misled through skewed and slanted reporting, assuring the readership that what is unfolding in Kiev is a “fledgling democracy”, as a Washington Post editorial further outlined on 6 April 2019.In reality it was a United States-funded coup d’état. During the months prior to Viktor Yanukovych‘s February 2014 ousting, elite American organizations bankrolled the “anti-government protests”, revealed as much in December 2013 by Victoria Nuland, then a high ...
READ MORE
War On Identity – The Abuse Of Kosovo Toponym
Every now and then we are being bombed by some terms in order to get used to them and accept them as something regular, accurate and correct. Such a thing happened with the toponym of Kosovo.The same method was applied in Bosnia and Herzegovina, i.e with the toponym of Bosnia, which once was an Orthodox Christian medieval kingdom, meanwhile global media portrays it as it’s exclusively Bosnian Muslim land regardless the fact that history, old books speak differently. In that sense here are the facts easy to check:Encyclopedia Britannica, Edition 1971Reference: EB, Edition 1971, Volume 3, page 983, Entry: Bosnia, ...
READ MORE
The Saudi Butchery in Yemen and the World’s Apathy
The cold-blooded killing of the journalist Khashoggi, however gruesome, pales compared to the brutality and gross human rights violations Saudi Arabia is committing in Yemen. The Saudis are deliberately preventing food and medicine from reaching areas where children are dying from starvation or disease. Their indiscriminate bombings are killing thousands of innocent men, women, and children, leaving whole communities in ruin. The saddest part of this unfolding tragedy is that the US and other Western powers are supplying the Saudis with the weapons they need to massacre the Yemenites, who are trapped in this proxy war between Saudi Arabia and ...
READ MORE
Kosovo and Vidovdan after 600 Years
Kosovo Ethics, which are implanted in the national consciousness of the Serbian people, have not changed for 600 years – nor will they ever change. The basic values of those ethics, bequeathed to Serbians on Vidovdan in 1389, have not been chiseled on 2 stone tablets, but are impressed in the inmost being of every Serb.Every nation has 1 date in its history which it considers more important than any other. For the Serbs, the most important date in their history is June 15, by the old calendar – June 28, by the new calendar (Vidovdan). On that day, in ...
READ MORE
Bosnia, Cyprus and Kosovo: America and Islamism in the Balkans
The conflicts that engulfed the former Yugoslavia still remain unresolved in the political arena and open to Western political shenanigans and covert meddling from Turkey and Saudi Arabia in Bosnia and Kosovo.  Orthodox Christianity faces many attacks and only a naïve individual would claim that America and the hands of Turkey and Saudi Arabia are clean. Central Bosnia in 2016: Flags of the ISIS America and other Western nations did little to stop Turkey invading Cyprus in 1974 and creating a de-facto nation and altering the demographics of northern Cyprus and using this area for military purposes. Irrespective of the rights and wrongs ...
READ MORE
How Britain Helped Create ISIS
Britain is gripped by fear, panic and anger, after being struck by three terror attacks in the space of three months. Innocent men, women and children have been killed in the terror rampage, filling many homes with tragedy and despair. Martial law has practically been declared in many regions of the country, with troops now being a common site on the streets of Royal Britannia. Many are looking for someone or something to blame, as rage is increasingly triumphing over reason.  Lost in all this hysteria however, there sits a glaring connection that needs to be illuminated: the connection between these ...
READ MORE
President of the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK) Ramush Haradinaj, a Kosovo Albanian former guerilla commander who served briefly as prime minister, speaks during an interview with Reuters at the AAK headquarters in Pristina December 4, 2012. REUTERS/Hazir Reka
Key facts about Kosovo’s Islamic Albanian minority of Serbia and the century long drive by Islamic extremists to exterminate Kosovo Serbs from that region: 1389—Muslims defeat Christian Serb defenders in Kosovo, depopulate the area and invite mountain tribe of Albanians, in exchange for converting to Islam, to take over pillaged land from Serbs. 1594—Sinan Pasha, an ethnic Albanian, who was a commander in the Ottoman Turkish Empire, burned the relics of St. Sava at Vracar, Belgrade. St. Sava is the Saint that brought Serbs into Christianity. 1878—Albanian nationalist leaders meet in Prizren, known as the First League of Prizren, to announce the creation ...
READ MORE
Political Language Explained
Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection & Pinterest. Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement! Donate to Support Us We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations. [wpedon id="4696" align="left"]
READ MORE
Zionism, Anti-Semitism, BDS, and the United Nations
An earlier abridged version of this post was published by Middle East Eye under a different title on June 5, 2016. The focus is upon the misuse of anti-Semitism by those defending Israel to deflect a rising tide of civil society activism and public criticism of Israeli policies and practices.Zionism as Racism? Zionism and the State of Israel8 Jun 2016 – More than 40 years ago the UN General Assembly adopted controversial resolution 3379 by a vote of 72-35 (with 32 abstentions), determining “that Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination.” This resolution was bitterly opposed by Israel and its ...
READ MORE
The “European Values” Think-Tank and Their List of “Useful Idiots”
Just when you think that the Russo-phobic hysteria of the Western world couldn’t possibly make itself any more ridiculous…something like this comes along. This is the europeanvalues.net list of “useful idiots”.The list is very long, over 2300 names, because it contains the name of every person to ever appear on either Sputnik or RT. Hosts or guests, hostile or friendly, it doesn’t matter. If you’re on the list, you are a useful idiot.They’ve highlighted some names in yellow, to denote they’re “particularly noteworthy”. Names receiving the yellow highlight – the Russian agent equivalent of twitter’s blue tick – include Harrison ...
READ MORE
The Simulation of Democracy
One of the most complicated and frustrating aspects of operating a global capitalist empire is maintaining the fiction that it doesn’t exist. Virtually every action you take has to be carefully recontextualized or otherwise spun for public consumption. Every time you want to bomb or invade some country to further your interests, you have to mount a whole PR campaign. You can’t even appoint a sadistic torture freak to run your own coup-fomenting agency, or shoot a few thousand unarmed people you’ve imprisoned in a de facto ghetto, without having to do a big song and dance about “defending democracy” ...
READ MORE
America Aggression: A Threat to the World
Bearing the Burden
Countering NATO Propaganda on Russia: NATO Intervention in Afghanistan, Kosovo, Libya, Ukraine
How Belgium is being Forced to Confront the Bloody Legacy of King Leopold II
The USA Bombing List: The Democracy World Tour
The West vs Russia: Towards the End of a Pax Americana?
Edward S. Herman: The Politics of the Srebrenica Massacre
Donald Trump – A Super Zionist?
Serious Drawbacks in Ukraine’s Adopted ‘Church’ Bill
The “Pro-Western Revolution” in Ukraine has been a Fascist-infested Fraud
War On Identity – The Abuse Of Kosovo Toponym
The Saudi Butchery in Yemen and the World’s Apathy
Kosovo and Vidovdan after 600 Years
Bosnia, Cyprus and Kosovo: America and Islamism in the Balkans
How Britain Helped Create ISIS
Kosovo: Key Dates in the Century Long Goal to Create a Greater Albania
Political Language Explained
Zionism, Anti-Semitism, BDS, and the United Nations
The “European Values” Think-Tank and Their List of “Useful Idiots”
The Simulation of Democracy

Written by Policraticus

SHORT LEGAL DISCLAIMER: The website’s owner & editor-in-chief has no official position on any issue published at this website. The views of the authors presented at this website do not necessarily coincide with the opinion of the owner & editor-in-chief of the website. The contents of all material (articles, books, photos, videos…) are of sole responsibility of the authors. The owner & editor-in-chief of this website is not morally, scientifically or legally responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in the contents of all material found on this website. The owner & editor-in-chief of this website is not responsible for the content of external internet sites. No advertising, government or corporate funding for the functioning of this website. The owner & editor-in-chief and authors are not morally, scientifically or legally responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in the text and material found on the website www.global-politics.eu

Website: http://www.global-politics.eu