Erdogan's Private 'Islamic youth' Army. (Gatestone). By Burak Bekdil.
Erdogan recently took another step to enforce his defense against real and fictional enemies. In October, Turkey's religious affairs general directorate, or "Diyanet," issued a circular for the formation of "youth branches" to be associated with the country's tens of thousands of mosques.
Initially, the youth branches will be formed in 1,500 mosques. But under the plan, 20,000 mosques will have youth branches by 2021, and finally 45,000 mosques will have them. Observers fear the youth branches may turn into Erdogan's "mosque militia," like the Nazi Party's Hitler Youth organization in Germany.
Having youth branches for mosques is a dangerous idea, especially for a country such as Turkey, where societal divisions along secular and conservative Muslims lines are deeply polarized and risk violence. The mosque militia may provoke a secularist reply in the shape of "secular youth branches." Then it will be anyone's guess where and when the first spark of violence will commence.
Erdogan commands NATO's second-largest army and a huge security and intelligence organization. He does not need to build an army of pious youths to provide him personal security. This will only lead to potential violence, and in the worst-case scenario, to a civil war. He should drop the idea of a private army of pious young Sunni Muslims before it will be too late. Hmmm.....the modern version of Janissaries or Hitler Jugend? Read the full story here.