In Brussels and other EU capitals, politicians, church representatives, unionists, writers, artists, journalists and representatives from various nongovernmental organizations often stress that they attach importance to the peaceful coexistence of all the people living in the EU. They say that the coexistence of Christians, Muslims, Jews and others in a democratic atmosphere is indispensable for EU values. But what really happens is rather different from their portrayal. There is a bitter truth I always touch on in in my Daily Sabah columns and the TV programs I attend – the security of Muslims in the EU is increasingly threatened.
In the past, neo-Nazis, racists and violence-prone far-right groups were the leading groups targeting Muslims. The EU discussed the subject many times and claimed that various measures were taken to prevent attacks on Muslims. However, the xenophobic, Islamophobic and anti-Turkish assaults have not been able to be prevented so far. We have lost many European Muslim and Turkish friends in those attacks. Many people have been murdered across the EU in arson incidents and other attacks. Many democrats in the EU protested the incidents to show solidarity with Muslims and Turks and protect human rights, democracy and EU values. All EU citizens who are determined to uphold human dignity adopted a strict stance against these groups.
But currently, everyone in the EU other than Muslims are indifferent to the attacks. For months, PKK supporters have been attacking Turkish people in EU countries. The terrorist groups that were disturbed by Turkey's total war against terrorism in Syria and Iraq declared EU countries as a field of action. For weeks, they have been organizing violence on Turkish people. They even declared through press statements that they will increasingly continue their assaults on Turkish people and their houses, associations and mosques.
According to a study from the Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA), attacks on Turkish people in Europe increased 589 percent from Jan. 1, 2018 to March 15, 2018.
Throughout 2017, there were six attacks in Germany, one in Greece, one in Sweden and one in Switzerland. Four of these attacks targeted diplomatic missions, three were on associations and two were on mosques.
From Jan. 1 to March 15, 2018, however, the number of attacks has been 42 in Germany, six in France, five in the Netherlands, three in Sweden, one in Austria, one in Greece, one in Denmark, one in Ireland, one in the United Kingdom and one in Switzerland. Twenty of the attacks targeted mosques, eight were on diplomatic missions, nine were on associations and 25 on other targets. Markets and cars were also set on fire during attacks.
The PKK claims that it organizes these attacks in protest of Turkey's Operation Olive Branch, with which Turkey has cleared Afrin in northwestern Syria of terrorists. Some Europeans still regard their acts as legitimate.
I want to ask these Europeans if attacking mosques can be justified as a protest to the Turkish Armed Forces' (TSK) counterterrorism fight in Afrin. How can a terrorist group attacking Turks and Muslims on the grounds of the Afrin operation be supported? Even some Catholic or protestant priests sided with the PKK and its attacks, which contradicts their roles as religious functionaries. It is beyond me to understand how a Christian priest could support the PKK and the attacks on mosques.
Likewise, how could unions support the attacks, as they claim to operate for human rights before labor rights? The same question must also be asked for politicians, journalists and others who did not take a stance against the PKK violence.
It is high time for the EU Justice and Home Affairs Council (JHA) to discuss the PKK's assaults and possible common measures to be taken. Also, we expect European Parliament members to adopt a stance against the attacks. We are asking those protesting with the slogan: "Afrin is not alone" – are Muslims alone in the EU? Why is no one in European Parliament doing anything for Muslim Europeans? Muslim Europeans expect solidarity and protection from the EU.
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