Web Sites for Germany's TurksBy DAVID CRAWFORD
Fuel Fear of Homegrown Terror
September 13, 2007; Page A7 URL for this article:
BERLIN -- Islamist extremists have begun to use Turkish- and German-language Web sites in an effort to win support and recruits among Germany's Turkish minority, adding to concerns over the threat from homegrown terrorism in Europe.
Until late last year, extremist content on Islamist Web sites in Germany was largely in Arabic, which is spoken by few of the country's two million-strong Turkish minority, according to a senior German intelligence official. That changed in November, with the arrival of new Web sites that quickly translate and present statements by al Qaeda and other groups into Turkish and German.
The development shows Islamists are seeking to recruit Germany's ethnic Turks, the intelligence official said.
The change is also adding to concerns, already realized in the United Kingdom and some other parts of Europe, that the main threat of terrorist attacks will come from homegrown extremists. Last week, German police arrested three people -- two ethnic German converts to Islam and a Turkish national and longtime German resident -- on charges of planning a massive bomb attack in Germany.
"Germany's Turkish population is a huge Internet audience that is worthwhile for Muslim extremists to target," said Herbert Müller, a German intelligence official. The Web sites are part of a wider trend of attempting to get extremist arguments across to Germany's Turkish-speaking community, he said.
Islamist Web sites have flourished in Germany since 2001, but in the past much of the content was news recycled from more professional media, while extremist content was in Arabic. That changed late last year, however. In November, Sehadetvakti.com appeared, posting Turkish and sometimes German translations of statements by Muslim extremist organizations, including al Qaeda in Iraq, within hours of their release.