August 30, 2016

Has Turkey’s Gulenist witch hunt spiraled out of control?

Kadri Gursel

Turkish drivers with license plates bearing the “FG” letters have recently fallen under suspicion of being members of a terrorist organization for the simple reason that the two letters signify the initials of Fethullah Gulen, the US-based Turkish cult leader who, by a large consensus, is the instigator of the July 15 coup attempt.

Court denies appeal for journalists’ release, claiming ‘no evidence of innocence’

An İstanbul court has rejected an appeal submitted by columnists who wrote for the Zaman daily, which was shut down by the government in July, saying there is no new evidence that will prove their innocence and end their detention.

Turks Seen as Sympathetic to US-Based Muslim Cleric Say They Face Threats

More than a month after Turkey's failed coup, which its government blames on a U.S.-based Muslim cleric, many Turks seen as his sympathizers say threats from government supporters are complicating their lives.

Erdogan's purges reach heart of Europe as Gulenists in Germany say they are being spied on

With its leafy playing fields and historic buildings on the site of a former British army barracks, the Wilhelmsdtadt School in the Berlin suburb of Spandau could easily be mistaken for a English boarding school.

Turkey detains more journalists in coup round-up: report

Turkish authorities detained an editor at the prominent Hurriyet newspaper in the latest round-up of journalists and others accused of links to last month's failed coup, Hurriyet's English-language publication said on Tuesday.

Dutch FM critical of how Turkey handled attempted coup

Minister Bert Koenders of Foreign Affairs criticized the way in which Turkey reacted to a failed coup in the country in July during his visit to his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu in Ankara on Monday. According to the Dutch minister, there should be limits to how far the Turkish government is willing to go.

August 29, 2016

Should We Send A Man We Know Is Innocent To His Death Abroad?

John A. Tures*

In the movie Judgment at Nuremberg, a Nazi judge has to answer for sacrificing an innocent man to appease the bloodlust of an angry crowd, swearing he had no idea how it would lead to the Holocaust. America must make a similar decision on whether to send a liberal Muslim cleric to his death abroad to appease an authoritarian “ally” in the war against ISIS. Will our policymakers get it right, or will we bow to realpolitik, sacrificing our soul for political power?

Education Association Defends Zaman University

The Cambodian Higher Education Association (CHEA) released a statement on Saturday defending Zaman University against calls for its closure over alleged links to a group blamed for the failed coup in Turkey last month

Columnist says purge of Gülenists a move to prevent ‘future crimes’

The sacking of hundreds of university staff members, the suspension of approximately 81,000 civil servants, the arrest of more than 20,000 civilians and the detention of 40,000 others across Turkey are a precautionary measure to prevent “future crimes” that might be committed by the Gülen movement, according to Turkish columnist Mustafa Akyol.

Erdoğan calls on people to report Gülen followers to authorities

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Saturday reiterated an earlier call he made to Turkish people, calling on them to report followers of the faith-based Gülen movement in their surroundings to the police and prosecutors’ offices so that they can be prosecuted for their links to the movement.

August 28, 2016

Fethullah Gülen, the preferred enemy

Turkish president Recep Erdogan blames Fethullah Gulen, the Hizmet leader, for the coup attempt on July 15, when 300 people were killed. Hizmet is an Islamic movement with activities in more than 180 countries. To its followers, "the Gulenists", Gulen — a man with swallow feet and low voice who says he spends most of his time praying and studying — is a democrat in favor of the Turkish democratization. At 77, Gulen lives in the US. The Turkish government sent an extradition request for him. If granted, he would have to face life prison plus 1900 years in jail, according to Turkish prosecutors. Reclusive, he agreed to answer written questions and afterwards received a reporter for a rare conversation in his home surrounded by gardens in rural Pennsylvania, where he lives since 1999.

Newly released journalist offers insider view of victims of purge

Briefly detained for taking photos of the street next to Istanbul’s Gayrettepe Police Station, journalist Tuğba Tekerek has talked about her time in detention, shedding light on what people jailed as part of the government’s ever-increasing crackdown on the Gülen movement suffer behind bars.

Washington unlikely to extradite Fethullah Gulen to Turkey: Mark Katz

Tension has been on the rise between Washington and Ankara after Turkey pointed the finger of suspicion at U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen for the mid July abortive putsch.

August 27, 2016

US Cannot ‘Suspend’ Constitution for Gulen Extradition - Ex-Prosecutor

Earlier this week, Turkish officials admitted Ankara had yet to provide the United States with evidence linking Gulen to the July 15 military coup. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday that refusal to extradite Gulen would not help US-Turkish relations.

The Gülen extradition

Herb Rothschild Jr.

Although he’s been living in the U.S. since 1997, Muhammed Fethullah Gülen isn’t a household name here. He may soon become one. In the wake of the failed coup attempt in Turkey last month, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has pressured the U.S. to extradite Gülen to face charges of instigating the coup. Depending on what’s in the 85 boxes of evidence that Turkey has sent to support its request, our government may face a choice between geopolitical calculation and human decency.

Fethullah Gulen’s Condolence Message for the Earthquake in Italy

Fethullah Gulen

I was deeply saddened by the news of the devastating earthquake in central Italy that resulted in the loss of over 200 lives and the wounding of many others.

Turkey’s Purge Could Cause a Massive Brain Drain

Turkey is facing a new danger – brain drain.

Turkey's crackdown threatens German stability, Gulen followers fear

As storekeeper Cem Celik closes his small supermarket in one of Berlin's traditional Turkish neighbourhoods for the night, he is bracing himself for what lies ahead.

August 26, 2016

Monday Talk with Alp Aslandogan on Gulen Movement and Recent Coup Attempt in Turkey

Vocal Europe: What sort of link does Alliance for Shared Values have with the movement in general and with Mr Gulen in particular?

Turks Should Question The Official Narrative That Gulen Was Behind The Coup

Mahir Zeynalov

One of the most frequent questions I am asked about Turkey is why so many people in that country believe in conspiracy theories? Even intellectuals buy and sell theories that are mostly groundless — most of the time backed up by no single shred of evidence — let alone millions with little education.

Turkey Concedes: No Evidence Linking Gulen to Coup Sent to Washington

Turkey is conceding it has not sent any evidence to Washington linking Fethullah Gulen to the failed July 15 coup attempt, despite increasingly angry calls by Ankara for the United States to extradite the Pennsylvania-based cleric or suffer a severe downgrade in diplomatic relations.

Zaman school resists call for closure

Zaman school officials and parents yesterday urged the Cambodian government not to shutter the schools as the Turkish Ambassador to Cambodia Ilhan Tug has requested, saying students will ultimately suffer.

GYV president Ussak passes away in exile

A renowned intellectual, journalist and president of the Journalists’ and Writers’ Foundation (GYV) Cemal Ussak, who was among the targets of the Turkish government's ongoing crackdown on the faith based Gulen movement, has passed away at the age of 63 while in exile.

August 25, 2016

Turkey has shown no evidence of Gulen coup role: US

Turkey has submitted four extradition requests for the US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen but offered no evidence tying him to last month's failed coup, a senior US official said on Wednesday.

Erdoğan’s former speechwriter: Call for Gülen’s return was tactical move

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s former speechwriter and current Justice and Development Party (AK Party) deputy Aydın Ünal wrote on Thursday that Erdoğan has never liked Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen and that his call for Gülen to return to Turkey in 2012 was a political maneuver.

What Erdogan and Khomeini Have in Common

Alireza Nader

The Turkish president’s post-coup crackdowns are following in the footsteps of Iran’s Islamic revolution.

India must understand Erdogan’s ideological motives for seeking extradition of Gülenists

Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi*

After the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan accused his former ally and an avowedly moderate Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen of plotting the failed coup, the Turkish government sought his extradition from the US. But surprisingly, the US has now confirmed that Turkey has made a formal request for the extradition and has specified that it is not linked to the failed coup. The Deputy State Department spokesperson Mark Toner said, “We can now confirm that Turkey has requested the extradition of Gülen. But I wouldn’t characterise the request as relating to the coup attempt.”

In University Purge, Turkey’s Erdogan Hits Secularists and Boosts Conservatives

On the humid afternoon after July’s bloody coup attempt, signs of a rift that is redefining this nation’s academia played out in two cities 400 miles apart.

Turkey accused of 'systematic spying' in Austria

An Austrian politician has accused Turkish authorities of spying on people living in Austria who are opposed to the Turkish leader President Tayyip Erdogan.

August 24, 2016

What does Turkey deserve?

Vicky Anderson*

Life never will be the same for millions in Turkey after the foiled coup of July 15. Naturally, intense trauma is to be expected from the unprecedented bombing of the parliament building and the military’s attack on civilians in the streets.

Turkey Targets Gulen-Inspired Projects Around the World

In past years, big names in South Africa picked up the annual Gulen Peace Award, a local accolade inspired by a Turkish preacher who has been blamed by Turkey for an attempted coup last month.

Biden says US courts to decide on Gülen’s extradition

US Vice President Joe Biden, who arrived in Ankara on Wednesday, said the US administration wants to cooperate with Turkey over the Turkish government’s request for the extradition of Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen but that it is a US court that will make the decision.

Local Turks [in Chicago] fear for safety of friends, family overseas after failed coup

Mustafa has never met his sister’s neighbor, but two weeks ago, he received a WhatsApp message from her.

August 23, 2016

Biden needs to give Turkey’s Erdogan some tough advice

Washington Post Editorial Board

When Vice President Biden meets with the president of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in Ankara this week, Mr. Biden will need all the reservoirs of patience and persuasion he can muster. Mr. Erdogan, having survived a coup attempt July 15, which brought huge crowds to the streets to defend democracy, has subsequently launched a sweeping purge aimed at perceived enemies. Mr. Biden needs to deliver some tough counsel to the Turkish president.

Biden in Turkey: Holding the Line on Human Rights

Melissa Hooper

This week, Vice President Joe Biden will travel to Turkey to meet with President Erdogan and Prime Minister Yildirim. This is one of the last opportunities for the Obama Administration to emphasize face-to-face how important it is to honor human rights and rule of law in the wake of the attempted coup of July 15.

The Hizmet Movement: ‘Terrorist’ or Terrorised?

Yousuf Zubair

After the attempted military coup in Turkey on 15 July, President Erdogan and officials within the Turkish government seem to have unequivocally blamed sympathisers of the Hizmet movement and have begun a purge of ‘Gulenists’ (and any other opposition to the President). The reclusive Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen whose teachings and values are instrumental to the movement’s activity, is alleged to be individually accountable for the putsch. In his speech on 20 July declaring a 3 month state of emergency in Turkey, President Erdogan described the ‘terroristic’ Hizmet movement as ‘a threat to democracy, to the rule of law, and to the rights and freedoms of the citizens’ of Turkey. In my experience, however, Hizmet actually seems to directly facilitate and actively promote these three integral elements of contemporary society.

Larger than Stasi: Turkey has ‘6,000 agents in Germany’ to oppress Gulenists – reports

An army of “Turkish agents” larger than East Germany’s Stasi secret service threatens the German Turkish diaspora, and its alleged existence raises controversy over intelligence cooperation between the countries, a German security official said.

August 22, 2016

Dialogue Institute provides insight in Kansas City area on Turkey

Pat Cooper*

It has been about a month since the coup attempt in Turkey, and I worry about the future of that beautiful, historic country and its people.

Turks traumatised by Erdogan's post-coup crackdown

The sheer scale of Turkey’s post-coup crackdown, and the secretive nature of the organisation whose members are being hunted down, have placed Turkish society at risk of developing severe psychological trauma, warned political and social observers.

The US Should Not Extradite Fethullah Gülen, To A Paranoid Turkish Government

Jon Mark

Turkish president Erdogan is not letting up with his demands to the United States, that it extradite Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen to face charges for a coup against the Turkish leader, which Gulen is accused of influencing.

Turkey's [so-called] 'terrorists' active in India. But who are they really?

Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, who was in New Delhi recently, claimed that Fethullah Gulen's Hizmet movement has also infiltrated India.

17 Nigerian-Turkish schools caught in Ankara coup crossfire

The authorities and parents of Nigerian-Turkish International Colleges (NTIC), Lagos, Ogun branches have explained why the 17 schools Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan requested Nigerian government to shut down cannot be closed. They said the schools were run by Nigerians for Nigerians.

Gulen Followers Living in Europe Receive Death Threats, Feel Intimidated

Some Turkish people living in Europe who have links to supporters of Fethullah Gulen, accused by Ankara of masterminding the July 15 thwarted coup, have receive death threats and feel intimidated, media reported on Monday.

August 21, 2016

Fethullah Gülen condemns the terrorist attack in Gaziantep, Turkey

Fethullah Gülen

I condemn, in the strongest terms, the barbaric terrorist attack on attendees of a wedding ceremony in Gaziantep, Turkey that took the lives of more than fifty citizens, including children, and wounded many others.

Tanzania dismisses Turkish gov't allegations concerning Feza schools, asks for proof

Tanzania has dismissed an allegation by Turkey that the Feza schools in the country are being used to radicalise the youth and fund opposition against the Ankara government.

Side effects of the coup

Muhammad Aziz, a private company employee in Islamabad, is concerned about the education of his two sons studying in PakTurk International Schools System. “It is astonishing that a political regime in Turkey is following its political opponents across the world to make itself more powerful,” he says.

Coup attempt in Turkey puts Tulsa Turks in difficult position

A Muslim cleric accused by the president of Turkey of attempting to overthrow the government is at the center of a political maelstrom that reaches all the way to Tulsa.

August 20, 2016

Irvine's new arrivals — Turkish asylum seekers, after a failed coup and a sadly successful purge

About a week ago, a 40-year-old Turkish man fled the only home he’s ever known – a city about 90 miles southeast of Istanbul.

Al-Arabiya: Gulen confident US will not extradite him

In an exclusive interview with Al Arabiya News Channel, Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen said he was confident that the United States will not extradite him after Turkey formally submitted its request earlier in the week.

A strong message for Erdogan

Boston Globe Editorial

Relations between Turkey and the United States, long strained, have grown even worse in the wake of the failed military uprising in July, which the government in Ankara has all but accused Washington of abetting. On Wednesday, Vice President Joe Biden is scheduled to fly to Turkey on a fence-mending mission. The Veep is famous for his hearty affability, and if any American leader could defuse tensions with Turkey’s Islamist president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, it would be Biden. But there are higher priorities than making nice to Turkey just now. One of them is to make it clear that the United States has no plans to extradite Fethullah Gulen, the former Erdogan ally whom Turkish officials accuse of masterminding the attempted coup.

Turkish evidence for Gulen extradition pre-dates coup attempt

Turkey’s request for U.S. extradition of self-exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen refers only to his alleged activities before last month’s failed coup attempt, for which the Turks have not yet provided any evidence of his involvement, a senior administration official said.

Dialogue and distrust: on the predicament of Gulen-inspired organisations in the UK

Frances Sleap

Dialogue can be hard work. It is an indisputably good idea for there to be meaningful contact between people of different religious, ideological and cultural groups, but to make that happen where it hasn’t yet happened is no mean feat. Between 2010 and 2014 I worked at the Dialogue Society, with people putting a great deal of serious thought, energy, love, trial and error into this challenge. I have happy memories of sitting at our weekly meeting, armed with note pad and cup of tea, and mulling over various dilemmas. Where exactly should we send our Open Mosque Day and Community Fairs DIY manuals? How could we bring more collaboration out of Community Circles with people of different ethnicities? What projects would we assign Dialogue Studies MA students during their placements with us? What should we cover during a volunteer training day and what would we give them for lunch? Was there a way of getting the publication on the Islamic argument for intercultural respect into the hands of prisoners at risk of radicalisation?

August 19, 2016

Turkish preacher isn't running terrorist gang

Fatih Harpci

Fethullah Gülen is the man the Turkish president blames for a coup attempt on July 15 in Turkey.

Well known as a Muslim social advocate and the inspirational leader of a civil society movement called Hizmet, Gülen has now been branded a terrorist by the Turkish authorities without any court order or hard evidence of his involvement.

Questions to be asked to Turkey foreign minister visiting India

Mohammad Behzad Fatmi

As the foreign minister of Turkey, Mevlut Cavusoglu, visits New Delhi from August 18-20 for diplomatic parleys with his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj, here's a list of questions that must be asked to him should he call a press conference:

The coup after the coup

Aydin Engin*

On 15 July, Turkey fell victim to a "strange" coup attempt. Strange because the four successful coups (1960, 1971, 1980, 1998) and the two unsuccessful coups began around 3am, when everyone was still asleep. But on this occasion, the coup began at 10 pm, when people were on out on the streets, in pubs, tea gardens or at home watching television. The coup was strange in as much as it did not follow the basic principle: "If ground troops do not join the coup attempt, it cannot be successful".