Marc Fink is the Director of Islamist Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum. In his most recent article, Stunner: Turkey Infiltrating Native American Tribes – And May Get Congressional Help, Fink exposes the threat posed by â€œthousands of Turkish contractors and their families flooding into America’s heartland and settling in semi-autonomous zones out of the reach of American authorities.â€
Below is ClarionProject.org National Security Advisor Ryan Mauro’s interview with Marc Fink:
Ryan Mauro: Can you summarize for the readers how Turkey is promoting its influence among Native American tribes?
Marc Fink:Â Very wisely and surreptitiously.
By taking a disaffected minority and building personal relationships with them. Turkey is feting tribal leaders, treating them with the upmost respect â€“ even as heads of state.
The â€œTrojan Horseâ€ bill (H.R. 2362, the Indian Trade and Investment Demonstration Project) that would give Turkey exclusive investment preferences and special rights in Native American tribal lands is the culmination of an intense multi-year effort by Turkey to ingratiate itself with Native American tribes: Tribal students now study in Turkey with full scholarships; Turkish high officials regularly appear at Native American economic summits; and dozens of tribal leaders have gone to Turkey on lavish all-expense paid trips.
In 2010 alone, Turkeyâ€™s main lobbying arm in Washington spent over one million dollars for “sponsorship of educational travel for Congressional members and staff as well as Native American leaders.” This is according to IRS figures.
I want to point out just how important Native Americans have become to Turkey. When I say high officials, Iâ€™m not talking about mere trade representatives â€“ because this is about much more than trade. When Turkey hosted tribal leaders for the Native American Business Cooperation Trip, no less than the Foreign Minister himself took time out of his busy schedule to meet with the tribal leaders.
I repeat, the Foreign Minister. Let that sink in. Ahmet Davutoglu, who has been Prime Minister Erdoganâ€™s chief adviser during the 10-year rule of the Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP).
Tribal leaders were also feted by State Minister and AKP party bigwig Zafer Caglayan, who soon afterward became Turkeyâ€™s Economy Minister. In my article, I have some extraordinary photosÂ of Caglayan posing with Native American leaders. Another revealing photo shows a Native American tribal leader, followed by a Turkish army officer, leading a delegation of Native American tribal leaders on a visit to the mausoleum of the founder of modern Turkey. This formality is a high honor, usually reserved for heads of state.
Another photo in my article shows an extraordinary scene at Turkeyâ€™s Embassy in Washington. After an early committee-level victory for the Trojan Horse bill, Turkeyâ€™s Ambassador to the U.S. hosted a celebration featuring Native American tribal leaders, Turkeyâ€™s chief lobbyist in America and Native American Congressman Cole of Oklahoma, who sponsored the bill.
Letâ€™s put this in perspective. According to the Associated Press, “The meeting in Turkey marked the tribal leaders’ first significant overseas trade meeting.”
We have to ask: Why?
Why Turkey, which is led by an Islamist government? Why now? Tribal leaders do not get invited to France to meet with the French Foreign Minister. For that matter, neither Russia or China are hosting Native American trade delegations. And if there were such great investment opportunities in Native American lands, why arenâ€™t investors from Texas, Oklahoma and New York lobbying Congress to grant them special investment rights?
The key with Turkey is weâ€™re dealing with an Islamist government, one that presumably dreams of re-establishing the Ottoman Caliphate and extending it to a global nation-state under Sharia law, ruled by Turks. There are different paths to this end. One is the sword. Another is Da’awa – the teaching of Islam to non-Muslims.
Mauro: Are a lot of Native Americans converting to Islam?
Fink: Itâ€™s way too early for that. Turkey is merely establishing the groundwork for legislation that would allow them to have a real impact on Native American tribes and a foothold in sovereign lands in Americaâ€™s heartland.
The question does highlight an important difference between Islamist and Western thinking, something both interesting and dangerousâ€”dangerous because those in the West often fail to understand Islamist intentions.
In the West, we have a very short planning horizon and attention span. Weâ€™re impatient. We want instant gratification, expecting our goals to be met very fast. Complex issues are neatly resolved in hour-long television episodes.
But, Islamists think multi-generationally when planning to meet their goals. They are patient and methodical. And they have a greater sense of history, looking both backward and forward. So, if their goal is the Islamization of the West, they are just as happy if that occurs during the life of their great-great grandsonsâ€™ as they would if it occurred during their own lifetimes.
Thus, Westerners are often oblivious to incremental tactics â€“ until it is too late. See Europe as an example.
Mauro: Is there any evidence that the Islamist ideology specifically is spreading among Native Americans?
Fink: Similar to the previous question, weâ€™re at the beginning of a very long process. However, itâ€™s important to realize that the target here is not Native American tribes.
The target is America.
America â€“ with its promotion of freedom, equality and religious pluralism and tolerance â€“ stands in the way of the new world order the neo-Ottoman Islamists of Turkey seek to establish; a global caliphate under Sharia law. So, how convenient for Turkey to focus on establishing a foothold in semi-sovereign tribal lands right smack in Americaâ€™s heartland. What a great base for future operations.
What weâ€™re talking about here is colonization â€“ what a tragic irony for Native Americans.
Imagine what would happen if the Trojan Horse bill passes Congress. Turkey would have almost unlimited ability to set up shop in tribal areas for 75 years without any oversight or approval from the Department of Interior.
Businesses, industry, schools, shops, everything. All run by Islamists. With thousands of Turkish Islamists and their families moving to these areas and settling. A once barren and poor area now thriving, thanks to whom? Turkish Islamists, who are dedicated to conquest through Da’awa.
Thereâ€™s already precedence for this in Uzbekistan.
The government of Uzbekistan has recently discovered that private Turkish business interests in the Central Asian country have been acting as a front for banned Islamist extremists.
This is very important, so let me quote directly from Agence France-Presse:
[The Uzbek government is] accusing Turkish companies of creating a shadow economy, using double accounting and propagating nationalistic and extremist ideology. … Long wary of the influence of Islamic fundamentalism … secular authorities appear to be linking Turkish private business to the activities of the Nurcus, an Islamic group that is banned in the country. [Nurcus is also banned in Russia].
Since the AKP came to power, Turkey has invested more than $1 billion in the Uzbek economy and around 700 Turkish firms operate in Uzbekistan. Turkey would only love to repeat this model in Native American tribal lands. If this were to happen, yes I would expect the Islamist ideology to spread like wildfire through Native American tribes â€“ which would be a clear danger to American national security.
Mauro: Are there any laws that can prevent this infiltration?
Fink:Â I think the most important thing to point out here is a majority of the House of Representatives voted in favor of this Trojan Horse bill. 220 representatives voted in favor â€“ representing both parties and all ideological strains â€“ with 160 opposed and 49 abstaining.
It only failed due to it being a “suspension of the rules” vote which required a two-thirds majority (usually reserved for non-controversial votes with limited debate).
The bill could come up for a vote again, at any time.
The majority vote is as astounding as it is dangerous. I attribute it to confusion among Hill staffers accustomed to doing favors for a once secular, pro-Western Ankara that used to be a key strategic asset to Washington and its allies in the region.
But Ankara is no longer the pro-Western state of yesterday. And Congress should be alert to possible nefarious motives of the Islamists cementing their power in Turkey.
Now, Iâ€™m not an expert in the process of leasing Native American tribal lands â€“ few are — Â itâ€™s an extremely complex, bureaucratic process. But in general, these are sovereign lands held in trust by the United States government through the Department of Interiorâ€™s Bureau of Indian Affairs.
The Trojan Horse bill bypasses the Department of Interiorâ€™s approval process, which would give Turkey unfettered access to Americaâ€™s heartland. Obviously, itâ€™s critical that this or any similar bill be defeated.
But theoretically, I suppose it would also be possible to pass a law banning foreign nationals from leasing Native American tribal lands. Or banning companies from countries that support terrorism (Turkey is now an ally of Iran).
Congressmen â€“ and all Americans â€“ have a natural inclination to help bolster Native American economies. So we have to explain to them the nature and motives of Turkish Islamists, and provide alternative methods to assist Native Americans.
Mauro: When Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan visited Egypt in September 2011, he angered the Muslim Brotherhood by speaking in support of a secular state. Yet, Erdogan and his AKP party is Islamist. Can you make sense of this?
Fink: Smart politics that belie Islamist intentions.
Letâ€™s look at the background first.
Erdoganâ€™s AKP is often associated with Turkish neo-Ottomanism â€“ the desire to re-establish the Caliphate and unify the Middle East â€“ and later the world â€“ under Turkish Islamist rule and hegemony.
We can see this through Erdoganâ€™s actions: By trying to take leadership of the anti-Israel movement (always a winning card in the Middle East); to Turkey taking leadership of the Syrian Jihadist rebels against Assadâ€™s soon to be deposed Alawite clan (after initially embracing Assad and conducting joint military exercises with the Syrian army).
Erdogan is always looking for opportunities to exert Turkish influence.
September 2011 was after Mubarak had been deposed, but before the Islamist parties won parliamentary elections. The crowds in Tahrir square were liberal and secular. My guess is Erdogan was trying to ingratiate himself with what he thought was the force behind the revolution.
However, it should be noted that Erdogan was later quoted as saying: â€œMy words were misunderstood because of a translation mistake.â€ Playing both sides, it seems.
Erdogan actually came to Egypt with Turkish businessmen to intensify economic and trade relations. Sound familiar?
And letâ€™s go back to Turkeyâ€™s Foreign Minister and Erdogan right-hand man, Ahmet Davutoglu. The same foreign minister who personally feted Native American tribal leaders in Turkey. Davutoglu is often noted as the leader of the Turkish neo-Ottoman movement. Hereâ€™s a direct quote:
We will manage the wave of change in the Middle East. Just as the ideal we have in our minds about Turkey, we have an ideal of a new Middle East. We will be the leader and the spokesperson of a new peaceful order, no matter what they say.
Itâ€™s also important to remember that the AKP is an Islamist party with aspirations beyond Middle East hegemony. At one point, the Ottoman Empire extended to the gates of Vienna. They seek a world ruled by Sharia.
Just this week Fazil Say, Turkeyâ€™s leading classical composer and an internationally renownedÂ concert pianist, goes on trial for insulting Islam. His offense? A comment on Twitter, asking whether a particular call to prayer was cut short so the muezzin could get to his lover or a bottle of booze. Say faces up to 18 months in prison.
Turkish cultivation of Native American relations is simply a seed to be planted in Americaâ€™s heartland. If fertilized and left unchecked, it will become a problem. Possibly very far in the future. But the time to stop it is now.