Turkish-German boxer receives death threat after critical remarks about Turkish-Islamic organization

Ünsal Arık

An acclaimed Turkish boxer living in Germany received a death threat after voicing criticism of the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DİTİB), one of Germany’s largest pro-Recep Tayyip Erdoğan Islamist organizations, he announced on Twitter on Sunday.

“There was an envelope containing a bullet on my car’s windshield. I received your greetings… No escape from fate. Good day to all,” tweeted Ünsal Arık, a vocal critic of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

DİTİB is a branch of Turkey’s state-run Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) that operates some 900 mosques in Germany. The German government has accused DİTİB of spreading pro-Erdoğan propaganda and spying on German citizens for Turkey.

Commenting on the incident, Arık told the Cumhuriyet newspaper, “This week I told German newspapers what I think about [DİTİB], stating that mosques affiliated with it deal with politics rather than religion and that Erdoğan interferes in the running of mosques, upon which I received the threatening letter.”

“I am 100 percent sure that this was done by sympathizers of Erdoğan and the AKP,’’ he added.

In 2017 DİTİB was the subject of a federal investigation in Germany after it was revealed that 19 of their imams, acting upon instructions from the Turkish government, were passing intelligence to Ankara on dissidents living in Germany.

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