Turkey’s Overflowing Influence: Religious Freedom Impact
The 2016 coup attempt in Turkey ushered the nation into a new chapter, one which includes a significant emphasis on foreign policy and military expansionism. Countries previously part of Turkey’s former Ottoman Empire, and countries with a significant Muslim population, are specifically targeted. The unique religious freedom concerns that were once contained within the boundaries of Turkey’s borders are now found wherever Turkey has gained influence. Equally concerning is how Turkey has leveraged those religious freedom issues of neighboring countries for Turkey’s own benefit, at the expense of the local population.
In short, Turkey’s military expansionism has had the impact of exploiting people, exporting persecution, and enabling the perpetrators to commit even more egregious actions. If this is how Turkey treats vulnerable communities outside of its own borders, then how much more so within.
It is also worth noting that much of the media produced by Turkey’s humanitarian and military partners often includes Grey Wolf symbolism, particularly the salute. An extremist movement connected with the MHP party and youth cultural centers, the Grey Wolves are well-known for violently targeting ethnic-religious minorities and have been involved through many of most egregious violations of religious freedom.