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Kosovo and Erdogan's dangerous Islamic agenda

By Alon Ben-Meir and Arbana Xharra - posted Wednesday, 11 April 2018


Sociologist Sibel Halimi criticized the politics for fostering a perfect environment for Turkey to spread its influence. She explained to us that "The determination of Turkey to invest in mosques is expanding Erdogan's influence into other spheres as well. Here I am referring to the priority given to Kosovo's political class and the readiness of Turkey to buy Kosovo's state assets such as KEK [Kosovo Energy Corporation] [and] airport…"

Unfortunately, the European Union's reaction was measured, when in fact it should have been resoundingly critical because it threatens Kosovo's very sovereignty. "The arrest and subsequent deportation of six Turkish nationals legally residing in Kosovo" said Maja Kocijancic, spokesperson for the European Commission on her public statement, "raises questions about the respect of the due process of law."

Kosovo's parliament unanimously voted to establish an investigative committee to examine the institutional collapse, and the violation of the Constitution and respective laws with the arrest of the Gülenists. The independent ombudsperson has also begun an investigation into this extradition.

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The influence of Erdogan's Islamist agenda in Kosovo and other Balkan countries, however, needs more scrutiny from Western countries. Erdogan has already invested millions in mosques, and thousands on other projects. Kosovo remains the only country in the Balkans deprived of visa liberalization, which isolates the country and increases the risk of creating a perfect atmosphere for Erdogan's Islamic exploits.

The US and the EU must come to their senses and warn Erdogan that his insidious ambition to dominate Kosovo by whatever means at his disposal will not be tolerated, because it is nothing but a recipe for destabilization and violent conflict that transcends the Balkans.

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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.

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.

Other articles by these Authors

All articles by Alon Ben-Meir
All articles by Arbana Xharra

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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