Erdogan’s Purge Stretches All The Way To Pakistan


Date posted: December 5, 2017

Naeem Sahoutara

A Turkish family is rushing out to a weekend protest in this populous Pakistani city; outside the Karachi Press Club, Turkish residents release doves as a sign of peace; 25 Turkish teachers plea for safety in Pakistan. These Turkish families have lived here for over two decades, teaching at a network of international schools led by Fethullah Gülen, a moderate Islamic cleric from Turkey, who currently lives in the United States.

In the last 16 months, 28 Gülen schools and colleges across Pakistan have been shut down under pressure from the government in Ankara. Staff members now face deportation and some say they are feeling unsafe in Pakistan for the first time.

In July 2016, a failed coup attempt sent shock waves through Turkey. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blamed the coup on Gülen, his rival, and on Gülen’s followers. In the coup’s wake, Erdogan strengthened his grip on power, cracking down on journalists, academics and real or perceived critics. Some 50,000 people were arrested and most are still detained.

“Journalists, activists, teachers, media workers have been prosecuted on allegations of being linked to Fethullah Gülen or the Gülenist movement,” explained Saroop Ijaz from Human Rights Watch Pakistan. “And there has been an absence of credible evidence to suggest widespread involvement or complicity of the people being prosecuted in Turkey by the present regime in the failed coup attempt,” he said.

At its height, the Gülen network had about 2000 schools around the world, teaching Gülen’s brand of Islam, which promotes charity and service. But critics say the schools also raised funds and increased the influence of Erdogan’s rival in Turkey.

After the attempted coup, Erdogan pressured foreign governments to shut down the Gülen schools and deport their staff. Pakistan complied and last November, 1,500 Turkish staff members were ordered to return to Turkey.

The wife of one teacher, identified as Ms. Gulmez, said she was afraid of what awaited them there. “There will be some kind of interrogation and maybe arrests because our names are on their list, as we also heard from our embassy,” she said.

They put all of us in one basket, though we are not violent.

The teachers have appealed the Pakistani government’s decision, stalling the deportation of 78 families, but they are awaiting final verdicts.

Gulmez maintains her innocence. “They put all of us in one basket because of the Gülen group, though we are not violent or mixed in this claimed coup,” she said. Some 300 people from 78 Turkish families have registered with the United Nations Refugee Agency and have been granted asylum for a year, until next November.

But Yilmaz’s husband, the teacher, says that has offered little safety. “We somehow felt safe in Pakistan, we lived here under the umbrella of the UNHCR,” he said. But that changed on Sept. 17, when it was reported that some families had been abducted from their homes. Since then, he said, “the people, the families, the ladies, the kids they feel they are not in safe place anymore.”

Mesut Kacmez, a deputy school principal, and his family were allegedly detained by the Pakistani security agencies in the eastern city of Lahore in September. Weeks later, they were deported to Turkey against their will.

Saroop Ijaz, a Human Rights Watch lawyer, says Pakistan has a duty to protect the teachers, instead of giving in to Turkey’s demands. Pakistan must not “put its international credibility and its compliance with international obligations at risk” in order to carry out the Turkish government’s political objectives, Ijaz says. “I think it’s completely unacceptable and also a violation of international law.”

Source: Worldcrunch , December 5, 2017


Related News

Parents of Nigerian-Turkish International College students decry call to close schools

Mr. Abudulahi, a professor, added that the schools were playing very significant role in the development of education in Nigeria and should not be closed. He said that the school was one of the most secured in the country, adding that even in the hit of Boko Haram activities in the North ast, it remained open in Yobe. He further added that so long as the NTIC had operated within the laws of Nigeria, it should be allowed to remain in operation.

Police awaiting outside hospital to detain woman who just gave birth

A group of police officers has been waiting outside of private Hizmet Hospital in Istanbul’s Bahcelievler district in order to detain a woman who gave birth to her third child just several hours ago, according to Turkish media.

The Turkish Connection: Pak-Turk Schools

The network of [Pak-Turk] of schools came under the media scanner last month, after the Turkish government demanded that Pakistan close down the entire network following the failed army coup to overthrow Turkish President Erdogan. Since then, Erdogan has ordered a ruthless purge and arrest of anyone even suspected of having links with his political rival, Fethullah Gülen, whom Erdogan holds responsible for the coup attempt.

Thai Minister asks Turkish investors to invest more in education in Thailand

Winners at various International Science Olympiads from Turkish schools in Thailand paid a visit to Science and Technology Minister Peerapan Palusuk. The minister asked Turkish entrepreneurs to invest more in education sector in his country. Turkish schools’ students in Thailand have been representing the country successfully at International Science Olympiads. Students from Chindamanee School, Siriwat […]

Turkish IT Technician Found Dead While Fleeing To Greece

The body of a Turkish IT specialist, who was fleeing Turkish crackdown, was recovered from a river that divides Turkish-Greek territory. Mr. Zumre is not the only one who tried to cross the Meric river into Greece. Hundreds of professors, journalists, and sacked public employees crossed the river to reach Greece. Many of them are living in Greek refugee camps.

Turkey’s Gulen crackdown hits Canada

Efforts in Canada by Turkish authorities and supporters of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have made life miserable for Gulen followers here, many say. They have been made unwelcome in mosques and restaurants frequented by Turkish-Canadians, and they have been cursed and protested against by fellow citizens.

Latest News

Gulen-linked school manager released on bail by Tbilisi court

EP’s Rebecca Harms Visited Turkish Educator Çabuk In Georgian Prison

8,480 Turkish nationals sought asylum in Germany in 2017

Georgia: MEP Rebecca Harms on Asylum for Cabuk

Gülen calls on int’l community to pressure Turkey over rights violations

Fethullah Gülen’s statement regarding the family that drowned in the Meric (Evros) River

Fethullah Gülen’s Statement of Condolences for Florida High School Shooting

Hundreds of young Turkish children jailed alongside their moms as part of a post-coup crackdown

3 dead, 5 missing in attempt to escape Turkey’s post-coup crackdown

In Case You Missed It

8 detained in police raids on İzmir schools as Erdoğan’s witch hunt continues

Turkish experience in Sudan: making a difference

‘State of rule of law suspended in Turkey, if not completely eliminated’

GYV rejects claims that Hizmet movement dominates Turkey’s judiciary

Gülen interview received high praise from intellectuals, NGOs, politicians

First purification, next habituation

Prof. John L. Esposito’s keynote at the Gulen Movement conference, Chicago

Is Turkey Supporting ISIS?

Turkish delegation visits Crimea Simferopol International School

Copyright 2018 Hizmet News