June 27, 2016

Religious Freedom and Civil Liberties

Fulya Celik

What we have heard thus far indicates the enormous scope of the topic for this conference. Admittedly, I was overwhelmed by the challenging task of responding to the issue of religious freedom and civil liberties in a matter of ten or so minutes, but I will attempt to address a few pertinent points of consideration.

June 26, 2016

New Zealand politicians attend iftar dinner of Turkish foundation despite embassy’s warning

A number of politicians from New Zealand attended an iftar dinner organized by a foundation of Gülen movement sympathizers in the country, despite Turkish embassy’s written warnings against the event.

June 25, 2016

"My knowledge of Islam through the Gulen Movement has greatly increased"

Fikir Atlasi*, Episode 46 (Full text)

My name is Dr. James Puglisi and I work at the Campus Ministry office at St. Edward’s University in Austin Texas, a Roman Catholic University.

June 24, 2016

A Noble Profession has Turned into a Curse in Turkey

Yavuz Baydar

I have known Erol Önderoğlu for ages.

Businesses link to increase Pakistan-Turkey bilateral trade

The bilateral trade between Pakistan and Turkey can be increased from its present level of $700 million if the interaction between private sectors of both the countries is enhanced, a foreign businessmen said on Wednesday.

June 23, 2016

Trustee appointed to Meliksah University as gov’t increases control in academia

A court in the central province of Kayseri appointed a trustee to the Burç Education, Culture and Health Foundation, which is the administrator of Melikşah University, in what is the latest move by the government targeting the private institutions to gain more control.

Does Gulen see human rights as a “Western conspiracy” used to divide “our country and nation”?

Doğu Ergil

What are Fethullah Gulen’s views on human rights? Does he, like many others, see these rights as a “Western conspiracy” used to divide “our country (Turkey) and nation”?

June 22, 2016

Trustees appointed to founder association of Canik Başarı University

Trustees were appointed to take over the management of one of the foundations that established the Canik Başarı University, in what is the latest in a series of government moves against the sympathizers of the Gülen movement.

June 21, 2016

PACE report says seizure of newspapers done irreparable harm to media freedom in Turkey

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) report has stated that appointment of trustees to critical newspapers to take over the management has done irreparable harm to media freedom in Turkey.

June 20, 2016

Turks living in Britain see it as their duty to integrate

Erdem Dikici*

For a long time, Turks have been a largely invisible minority group in Britain. But thanks to those campaigning for a British exit from the European Union who have argued that Turks are a national security threat, and those warning that 12m Turks want to come to Britain if Turkey becomes an EU member state, Turkish immigration is high on the national political agenda. This is despite the prospect of Turkey in the EU being very remote.

Türksat to drop critical Can Erzincan TV on July 16 in gov’t-led move

Can Erzincan TV — a station known for its critical stance against the government — will be removed from the Turkish Satellite Communications Company (Türksat) on suspicions that include “making propaganda of a terrorist organization” on July 16, a notice recently sent to the station has informed.

June 19, 2016

Two teachers of the Turkish School killed in Somalia school bus attack

Ali Bulac

In Somalia where hunger, poverty, fanaticism, civil war and terror prevails, two volunteers of education were killedon the last day of March 2016. One of the people who lost her life in that heineous attack was an Azeri lady Kemale İsmailova, and the other was my fellow townsman Hıdır Çalka. Çalka had been working as a math teacher for the last 10 years. He had volunteered going to Somalia from Kenya. Like the other volunteers of education, he and his wife had only several suitcases with them when they left for Somalia. Kemale Ismailova was similarly a volunteer working as a teacher of Turkish. Her two kids were also injured in the very attack she lost her life. The funerals of these martyrs were carried on the shoulders of their friends, without turning it into a demonstration. May God have mercy on them, and place them in Paradise.

June 18, 2016

Fethullah Gulen's statement on the Orlando shooting attack

Fethullah Gülen

I am shocked and deeply saddened by the horrific attack that took place in Orlando, the deadliest mass shooting in United States history. I unequivocally condemn this hate-driven terrorist attack and I share my revolt and disgust with billions of people around the world.

Turkey appoints 2,000 trustees to private entities in 6 months

A total of 2,000 trustees were appointed to hundreds of private entities in Turkey over the past six months, in what is considered an alarming issue regarding increasing government control across the country, according to a report by Al Monitor.

June 17, 2016

‘Nigeria moving towards peaceful, happy future’

Notwithstanding the series of conflicts in various parts of the country, there is a high hope that Nigeria is heading towards peace and a brighter future, Initiator of the Hizmet Movement and foremost Turkey-based scholar, M. Fethullah Gulen, has declared.

Pacifica Institute and Redmond United Methodist come together for Interfaith dinner

A group of about 130 people gathered at Redmond United Methodist Church (RUMC) for dinner on Sunday evening.

But rather than a room full of Christians, as the venue may imply, the dinner was the Interfaith Friendship Iftar Dinner and contained a mix of members of the RUMC as well as members of the Pacifica Institute (PI). The latter is a nonprofit organization with Turkish American Muslims.

How I became an ‘indecent’ journalist overnight and fired?

Selcuk Gultasli*

Back in April, I realized I had a message at my answering machine. Surprisingly it was the first call from my newspaper in almost a month after it was brutally seized by the court appointed so-called trustees. Deeply excited, I listened to the message. A gentle voice was breaking the news that I was fired but they were not able to deliver the notification as I was abroad. So I had to give them a proper email.

Gov’t suppression of press makes social media alternative platform, survey says

The “Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2016” has revealed that social media has increasingly become an alternative platform for news in Turkey as the government intensifies its suppression of mostly printed press outlets.

June 16, 2016

Trustees fire 600 journalists after taking over management of Feza Media group

Around 600 journalists have been fired from Zaman and Today’s Zaman dailies, Cihan news agency and Irmak TV station, after trustees were appointed to the management of Feza Media Group in a government-led move on March 3, 2016, Turkish daily Yeni Hayat reported on Thursday.

June 15, 2016

Abuja hosts 2016 Int’l Festival of Language and Culture

Children from different parts of the country took to the stage in Abuja for the 14th International Festival of Language and Culture.

Trustees appointed to association of Selahaddin Eyyubi University in gov’t-led move

Trustees have been appointed to take over the management of a foundation, which established the Selahaddin Eyyubi University in Diyarbakır, in what is the latest in a series of government moves against the sympathizers of the Gülen movement.

June 14, 2016

Criticism grows over move to silence Can Erzincan TV by gov’t controlling 95 pct of media

Criticism grows over an attempt by government – which controls 95 percent of the media organs — to shut down Can Erzincan TV, a station known for its critical stance against the government.

Why does Turkey suddenly need so many bankruptcy trustees?

Ufuk Sanli

Thousands of young people among Turkey's 3.2 million unemployed are dreaming of getting a government appointment as a bankruptcy trustee. Since October, thousands of people have Googled the question “How can I become a trustee?” That in itself is enough to illustrate Turkey's economic problems — not to mention the unusual wave of bankruptcies the government has been involved in.

June 13, 2016

US Rep. Scott: Gülen movement cannot be designated as “terrorist organization”

Congressman David Scott, representing Georgia’s 13th congressional district, has said that Gülen movement cannot and should not be designated as a “terrorist organization” while expressing his concerns over President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s including the movement on the list of “Turkish terrorist organizations.”

Reactions pour in against attempt to drop Can Erzincan TV from Türksat

A number of politicians and journalists have spoken out against a government-backed attempt to shut down Can Erzincan TV, which is known for its critical stance against the government.

A Ramadan Birthday Dinner

Fran Moreland Johns

Dates, rice and eggplant moussaka for birthday dinner? It works.

A recent birthday of mine happened to coincide with a long-planned Ramadan Interfaith Iftar Dinner co-hosted by Pacifica Institute and Calvary Presbyterian Church in San Francisco. Since I was minimally involved in the planning and execution of the event, and maximally involved in the birthday, it made sense to combine the two. Plus, I got a lot of mileage out of responding to questions about birthday plans with news we were expecting 225 or so friends for dinner.

AFSV Statement on Orlando Shooting

We condemn the horrifying mass shooting in Florida this morning that left more than 50 dead and injured many more. This act of terror is an attack on our common humanity and values. It is more important than ever to stand in solidarity against violence, hate, and terror, as well as any attempt to justify this horrible act. Our hearts go out to the victims’ families and all those who were affected.

June 12, 2016

The Hizmet discourse of the Gülen Movement

Mehmet Kalyoncu

The concepts that constitute Fethullah Gülen’s outlook, and thus the vision of movement activists, in this analysis, are wrapped up in the overarching concept of hizmet (service to one’s fellow human beings). Each principle that underlies Fethullah Gülen’s teaching derives directly from the idea of living to serve. These principles include gaye-i hayal (the purpose of one’s life), diğergamlık (altruism) and başkası için yaşama (living for others), mes’uliyet duygusu (sense of personal responsibility) and adanmışlık ruhu (spirit of devotion). This chapter looks at how Fethullah Gülen elucidates these core concepts in his work and how they are put into practice in the conduct of the movement participants. Similarly, it tries to identify both the underlying philosophy and the operational concepts that are put into practice to analyze how the movement has spread, for looking at both structural and operational concepts provides a clearer picture of the conduct of the participants in the movement. These operational concepts include sohbet and hizmet (conversation and service), istişare and mütevelli (collective decision making and board of trustees), and himmet and verme tutkusu (personal commitment and passion for giving). Throughout the analysis, this chapter uses Fethullah Gülen’s original terms for these concepts, along with their English translations.

ÜNİVDER head says appointment of trustees to university foundations ‘alarming’

Tahsin Yeşildere, head of the University Instructors’ Association (ÜNİVDER), has said that recent appointment of trustees to foundations that established private universities is alarming.

June 11, 2016

Interview with Fethullah Gulen in Kenya's Daily Nation

1. What is your mission statement? How can you explain your message to the people of the world?

I don't believe that I have a special mission. I am trying to be able to be a human being among other human beings. The honor God has granted us as "humanity" is sufficient for me.

June 10, 2016

Fethullah Gulen’s Message of condolence for Muhammad Ali

Fethullah Gülen

I learned with grief the passing of Mr. Muhammad Ali, an individual who was dear to hundreds of millions of people around the world for his achievements in sports, strength of conviction, amicable personality and philanthropy.

Trustees appointed to Fatih University in gov’t initiated move

An İstanbul court on Thursday appointed trustees to take over the management of a foundation which established the Fatih University, in what is the latest in a series of government moves against the sympathizers of the Gülen movement.

Dutch choreographer rejects Turkey’s award in protest of press freedom violations

Dutch ballet dancer and choreographer Hans van Manen rejected a “Choreographer of the Century” award from Turkey, in protest of the recent violations of press freedom and human rights in the country, the BBC Turkish reported on Thursday.

Newly released journalist Avcı says was not treated as human in prison

Columnist Gültekin Avcı, who was released pending trial on Thursday, after spending nine months in prison as part of the case into conspiracy allegations against the Iranian-backed terrorist organization Tawhid-Salam, has said that he was not treated as a human in jail.

June 9, 2016

High time civilised world intervened in Turkey

Suleiman Uba Gaya*

In composing his famous tripartite epic poem, The Divine Comedy, Dante Alighieri included in the first part called Inferno, what has since become one of the most meaningful quotes of all time, emphasising that “the hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in times of moral crisis preserve their neutrality.” The quote was made more popular by late American President J.F. Kennedy, who aptly used it very often in 50s and 60s.

June 8, 2016

"The Hizmet Movement is working towards creating connections and lowering barriers"

Fikir Atlasi*, Episode 45 (Full text)

My name is Elliot Gershenson**. I’m the President and CEO of Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston, which is a large social service and interfaith dialogue organization.

I’ve been very fortunate to have been to Turkey with members of the local Turkish community through what was called the Institute for Interfaith Dialogue.

June 7, 2016

Gulen, Moderate Cleric, Vilified In Turkey

Sevda Zeynalova

The Turkish government's war on the Gulen movement has shown no signs of ebbing. Ankara is so determined to crack down on this loose network that its top security council framed it as a terrorist group last week.

EP’s Harms: Erdoğan ignores rule of law by putting Hizmet movement on list of ‘terrorist organizations’

Rebecca Harms, co-president of the Greens in the European Parliament (EP), has responded a question by Turkish Minute, stating that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan consciously ignores the rule of law by including the Hizmet movement inspired by the U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen on the list of Turkish terrorist organizations with a decision taken by the Turkish National Security Council (MGK).

EP’s ECR Group Chair Kamall expresses concern over Erdoğan’s declaring Gülen movement ‘terrorist’

Syed Kamall, the UK chair of the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) Group in European Parliament (EP), has responded a question by Turkish Minute, expressing his concerns over President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s including the Hizmet movement – inspired by the U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen — on the list of Turkish terrorist organizations.

Court appoints trustee to Mevlana University as part of ongoing gov’t crackdown

A court in the central province of Konya has appointed a trustee to take over the management of a foundation that runs the Mevlana University, in what is the latest in a series of government moves against the sympathizers of the Gülen movement.

EP Christian Democrats’ Sommer says gov’t’s declaration of Gülen movement “terrorist” is against European values

Renate Sommer, the shadow rapporteur on Turkey for the Christian Democrats, which is the biggest group in the European Parliament (EP), has responded a question by the Turkish Minute, saying that the Turkish president’s designation of the Gülen movement as “terrorist” for political reasons runs against all European values and fundamental freedoms.

June 6, 2016

Fethullah Gülen on Terror and Terrorism

Fethullah Gülen

Muslims should say, “In true Islam, terror does not exist”

Today, at best we can say that Islam is not known at all. Muslims should say, “In true Islam, terror does not exist.” In Islam, killing a human is an act that is equal in gravity to unbelief. No person can kill a human being. No one can touch an innocent person, even in time of war. No one can give a fatwa (a legal pronouncement in Islam) in this matter. No one can be a suicide bomber. No one can rush into crowds with bombs tied to his or her body. Regardless of the religion of these crowds, this is not religiously permissible. Even in the event of war—during which it is difficult to maintain balances—this is not permitted in Islam. Islam states; “Do not touch children or people who worship in churches.” This has not only been said once, but has been repeated over and over throughout history. What Our Master, Prophet Muhammad, said, what Abu Bakr said, and what ‘Umar said is the same as what, at later dates, Salahaddin Ayyubi, Alparslan, and Kılıçarslan also said. Later on, Sultan Mehmet II, the Conqueror, also said the same. Thus, the city of Constantinople, in which a disorderly hullabaloo reigned, became Istanbul. In this city the Greeks did not harm the Armenians, nor did the Armenians harm the Greeks. Nor did the Muslims harm any other people. A short time after the conquest of Constantinople, the people of the city hung a huge portrait of the Conqueror on the wall in the place of that of the Patriarchate. It is amazing that such behavior was displayed at that time. Then, history relates that the Sultan summoned the Patriarch and gave him the key to the city. Even today, the Patriarchate remembers him with respect. But today, Islam, as with every other subject, is not understood properly. Islam has always respected different ideas and this must be understood for it to be appreciated properly.

June 5, 2016

AFSV Condemns Erdoğan’s Persecution of the Hizmet Movement

The push by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for the Prime Minister’s cabinet to designate the Hizmet movement — also known as the “Gülen movement” — as a terrorist organization only serves to further Erdoğan’s crackdown on dissent, civil society and the media. Erdogan’s announcement represents the latest in the string of his paranoid, authoritarian actions that ultimately harm Turkish citizens and undermine the international efforts against violent extremists.

Veteran legal expert says ops targeting Gülen movement remind him of Hitler’s Germany

Metin Günday, Professor of Administrative Law at Ankara University, has said that detentions and arrests carried out as part of operations targeting Gülen movement – a grassroots initiative inspired by Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen – reminds him of the practices in Hitler’s Germany.

Didier Reynders welcomes a delegation of young artist of the International Festival “Colors of the World” in the Egmont Palace

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders has met with 20 children participating in the International Festival of Language and Culture “Colors of the World”, which is hosted tomorrow, June 6, in the Forest National concert hall.

June 4, 2016

The Gülen Movement’s Initiatives in Britain

Fatih Tedik

The history of the Gülen Movement in the United Kingdom is fairly short compared to other Turkish faith-based communities or movements, such as Suleymanci, Sheikh Nazim and other Naqshibendiyya communities. Indeed, this fact could be deducted when the facilities and other services of respective communities are observed. For instance, each of the aforementioned community has its own an opus magnum in terms of religious architecture, such as Suleymaniye and Aziziye Mosques that both situated in Hackney. To meet religious necessities of the Turkish community during Ramadan, Gülen movement, however, hire small community centres for Ramadan activities.

June 3, 2016

EU expresses concern over declaration of Gülen movement as terrorist without due process

Maja Kocijancic, Spokesperson for European Union Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, has responded a question by Turkish Minute, stating that the EU notes with concern the decision taken by the Turkish National Security Council (MGK) to include the movement of the U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen on the list of Turkish terrorist organizations.

June 2, 2016

United States: We do not consider Gülen movement “terrorist organization”

United States (US) Spokesperson John Kirby made clear that the US does not consider the Gülen movement a “terrorist organization” in response to a question regarding the politically motivated efforts by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to frame the social movement as “terrorist.”

Int’l Festival of Language and Culture takes stage at European Parliament

Fifty children from different countries took stage at Espace Leopold, the European Parliament’s main complex in Brussels, Belgium, as part of the 14th International Festival of Language and Culture on Thursday.

The reasons behind Turkey leader Recep Erdogan’s Africa tour

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan is on a four-day east African tour this week, during which he is visiting Kenya and Uganda. This trip is his tenth visit to a sub-Saharan African country in less than 18 months. …

Nevin İpek’s passport cancelled after allegedly reported ‘lost’ by others

Passport of Nevin İpek, Koza İpek Holding CEO Akın İpek’s wife, was cancelled after it was allegedly reported lost by someone other than herself, Akın İpek has announced on social media.

June 1, 2016

Yamanlar College student wins gold medal in int’l computer project competition

Mustafa Ege Şeker, a student of Yamanlar College in İzmir, has won a gold medal with a computer project he made for the 14th InfoMatrix International Computer Project Competition.

Abant Platform discusses terror at UN headquarters in Vienna

“Dynamics of Radicalism: Why are people radicalized and why?” the second of the conference series titled “Combating Violent Extremism,” co-organized by the Journalists and Writers Foundation’s (GYV) Abant Platform and Vienna-based Friede-Institut für Dialog (Peace Institute for Dialogue) was held at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in the UN headquarters in Vienna, with emphasis on the need for increased role of civil movements in combating terrorism.

May 31, 2016

Design award-winning newspaper gets much-mocked logo after government seizure

The Zaman daily, which used to be Turkey’s best-selling newspaper until it was taken over by the government in early March on a highly controversial court ruling, adopted a poorly crafted logo that is widely mocked on the social media while under trustee management, because of the daily’s reputation as award-winning in international graphic design contests.

May 30, 2016

Tanzania holds International Festival of Language and Culture

Tanzania will host the 14th International Festival of Language and Culture (IFLC) to promote culture and customs from different nations around the world.