If members of Hizmet have done anything wrong, since they are in Nigeria, the Turkish government, through its embassy here can report them with hard evidence to the Nigerian security service. The fact that they have resorted to underhand tactics means they have nothing credible against these innocent fellows.
There is a rule-of-law in the United States and a process which the president simply does not have the power to short-circuit. If Gulen is turned over, however, I suspect relations will get worse because the extradition will convince Erdogan that blackmail and bluster work.
Even before the coup attempt in July, the judiciary was being essentially taken over by [then] PM Tayyip Erdogan. When the attempted coup occurred in July, within 24 hours there were arrest warrants for almost 3,000 judges. And it’s very clear, and in fact it’s been admitted by the deputy chair of the High Council [of Judges and Prosecutors, the body that selects and assigns judges], that that list of judges had existed for years.
Right now, all critical voices are silenced in Turkey and only the voice of those in power is heard. Consequently both Turkish people and outside observers are misled. The misperception about the coup continues because there is only one voice. The government interprets everything according to their calculations. They are using this event to express the antipathy they already had against Hizmet movement. The coup attempt is serving to justify their plans to persecute Hizmet movement.
You insist your movement is peaceful, not political. But multiple sources tell me that Hizmet has a dark side — where individuals are carefully groomed to enter government and related professions with the intent of an ultimate takeover. Is this true? If not, is it possible that these sorts of activities are happening without your knowledge?
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.
all of the Hizmet organizations and Fethullah Gulen released statements condemning attempt to throw an elected government by military coup. Our Honorary President Gulen has consistently advocated for democracy and insisted “there is no return from the democracy” at every stage of his life. We have always denounced the military interventions and demonstrated the attitude for the peaceful coexistence, freedom and democracy.
“I have always been against coups, and I cursed them,” he said. “I would curse people who resort to coups against democracy, liberty, republic.” Gulen said returning to Turkey would only complicate matters. Asked if he had a message for Erdogan, Gulen said: “I only pray that he would not go to the presence of God with all these sins he committed.”
Mr. Erdogan’s witch-hunt in Turkey accelerated with the globalization of the Hizmet movement. When he closed the doors to activities such as language and culture festivals, other countries welcomed them. When Mr. Erdogan urged Turkish ambassadors to lobby their respective foreign governments to help close down schools started by Hizmet participants, those governments refused to go along.
Speaking with TheCable in an interview on Friday, Cemal Yigit, spokesman of NTIC, said Gulen does not own the Turkish schools in Nigeria, and that the schools are the property of private investors – some of them Nigerians. He said that the Turkish government was on a purge of the opposition in Turkey, and that it was trying to decimate any organisation that shared the philosophy of Gulen by tagging them terrorists.
President Erdogan needs a victory so he can prove to the public and supporters that Fethullah Gulen was behind the failed coup and therefore get him extradited, says Ibrahim Dogus, the founder of the Center for Turkey Studies in London.
The Ufuk Dialogue Foundation is a platform where Christians and Muslims come together to promote peaceful coexistence, mutual understanding and dialogue, especially between the two religions. This is because we believe that if we come together we can talk the talk and walk the walk.