Immigrant members of the Christian Democratic Union’s (CDU) “Union of Diversity” network have warned that the governing party has been infiltrated by Erdoğan loyalists. The 131 page report, which looks at the influence of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Turkish lobbying on the CDU, has been sent to 60 MPs including Chancellor Angela Merkel. Its authors caution against interference by Turkey’s ruling Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP).
Co-author Salim Cakmak said: “The Union is being infiltrated by Turkish nationalists and Erdoğan lobbyists.”
One example mentioned in the paper is CDU councilor Ilhan Bükrücüis who has been rewarded for campaigning for the AKP in Germany.
CDU MP Wolfgang Bosbach urged his party to take the report seriously.
“If concerned party members, often themselves with an immigrant background give information, I can only advise you to take it seriously and consider it,” Mr. Bosbach told Bild on Sunday.
Mr. Bosbach, a member of the Bundestag’s Interior Committee, said the party should not turn a blind eye to extremism in its pursuit of multiculturalism.
He said: “It is the declared aim of Secretary Tauber to make the CDU younger, female and more colourful. Nothing speaks against openness and pluralism, but we have to watch carefully who we include in the party.
“Those who represent extreme political views, can not be or remain a member.”
The “Union of Diversity” is a network in the CDU of members, with migration backgrounds, who seek to make Germany a “good example of a country of immigration”.
The CDU headquarters have so far declined to comment on the report, which was also sent to parliamentary leader Volker Kauder and Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière.
The party’s General Secretary Peter Tauber spoke out in favour of openness of religion.
He said: “Under the C in our party name not only Christians but also people belonging to other religions can come together. What’s not possible: To use the platform of the CDU to conduct disputes between religions.”
Worries over Erdoğan’s influence on German politics extend beyond just the CDU. The Social Democratic Party’s Integration Commissioner, Aydan Özoguz, said: “I am concerned that the relationship of many people living here with Turkey is sometimes exploited politically in a huge way.”
The report comes as 50,000 Erdoğan supporters rallied in Cologne to demand the Islamist leader’s reign continues. The crowd included many members of the extremist “Grey Wolves” group.
German politicians have also expressed concern over the level of influence Turkey’s government has over mosques in the country, as there are 978 Turkish imams operating in 900 mosques.
Germany’s biggest Islamic organisation, the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DITIB), is loyal to Erdoğan and before elections their imams are known to call for people to vote for his Justice and Development party.
Other nations have similar fears. In Sweden, a senior security expert has warned that the country’s Green Party had been successfully infiltrated by Islamist entryists from the Muslim Brotherhood.