Brussels, Belgium – The EU has disallowed efforts by Austria and France to place the fight against terrorism in an Islamic focus on immigration and radicalism. Countries such as Spain, Italy and the Netherlands opposed these demands. The development of a vaccine against Coronavirus by a Turkish couple, cited as an example of integration into Europe, was also instrumental in curbing excessive demands.
European Union interior ministers, who met via videoconferencing to discuss the terrorist attacks in France and Austria and the measures that can be taken in this context, released a joint statement. At a meeting where terror attacks have once again targeted 25 million Muslims and migrants living in Europe, the extreme demands of Austria and France in particular were unanswered.
EU ministers have carefully avoided an approach that links Islam and migrants to terrorism, contrary to recent rhetoric from French President Emmanuel Macron. In shaping the attitude of the ministers, the fact that the vaccine, which created great hope in the fight against the coronavirus epidemic, was found by two German scientists of Turkish origin, Dr Özlem Türeci and Prof Dr Uğur Şahin, was also effective.
At a time when the far right and some politicians in the center were intensifying efforts to establish a direct link between terrorism and immigrants, and Islam was trying to be portrayed as the source of terrorism by using it out of concept, there was intense discussion about the statement to come out of the meeting. The news that the vaccine was found by the children of two immigrant families who were very successful in their fields and were well integrated into the country in which they were located was among the elements that led to the controversy.
“Putting Islam on target at a time when a German couple of Turkish origin was prominent in the race to vaccinate against coronavirus would have left EU ministers facing accusations of oversimplifying complex issues,” a diplomatic source said, summarizing the general approach of the meeting. There is a clear difference of discourse between the first draft document prepared in accordance with the demands of France and Austria and the agreed joint statement. The direct association of terrorism with the issue of immigration, the focus of Islam in the fight against radicalism and the punishment of non-integrated migrants were not included in the statement. Some countries, led by the EU Commission, as well as Spain, Italy and the Netherlands, have been instrumental in curbing excessive demands.
The coronavirus vaccine by Prof Dr Uğur Şahin (55) and his wife Dr Özlem Türeci (53) came at a time when they were re-discussing immigration and Islam in the wake of terrorist attacks by radical elements in Europe. Those who argue that there are also people who have successfully integrated into Europe against those who target migration and Islam have started to cite two Turkish scientists as examples.
But Prof Dr Uğur Şahin, who is passionate about his work and has worked hard, told The Guardian about his example of successful integration: “I’m not sure if I really want to be like this. As a society, we have to ask ourselves how we can give everyone a chance to contribute to society. My immigrant background is an accidental example,” he said. Prof Sahin is the son of a working family who left for Germany when he was four years old. Dr. Özlem Türeci is the daughter born in Germany of a doctor father who settled in Germany from Istanbul.
The European Union, which in previous years adopted the principle of not using the words terror side by side with Islam, but has repeatedly violated this principle in recent months, has returned to its old method in the declaration. “Our fight against terrorism is not against a religious or political belief, but against fanatical and violent extremism,” the statement said. They also agreed on improving the security of the EU’s external borders and imposing stricter controls on content promoting violent extremism on the internet.