In 2010, I completed my university education, and thought time had come to join the journey of peace and safety. I was just 24. Though I had long time ahead, yet there was no reason to be late. In order to sow the seeds of love through teaching mathematics, I arrived in Khaipur. It was an extraordinary experience.
It appears that Erdogan had never committed himself to a democratic form of government. A quote attributed to him in 1999 describes precisely what his real intentions were from the day he rose to power. “Democracy” he said, “is like a bus, when you arrive at your destination, you step off.”
Tayyip Erdogan, has gall. He has jailed tens of thousands of people, shuttered more than 150 media companies and called a referendum in April to enlarge his powers. Yet when local authorities in Germany, for security reasons, barred two Turkish ministers from campaigning among Turks living in Germany, Mr. Erdogan exploded, accusing Germany of Nazi practices and knowing nothing about democracy.
Sacrificing Gülen, however, will not bring Turkey in from the cold. While the pretext might have been rooting out Gülen’s followers, the reality is that Erdogan has used the purge to target secularists, liberals, and those officers whose training and experience in NATO he believes make them prone to oppose his vision and goals for Turkey.
The name of that “terrorist organization” was not spoken, but Ökem was referring to the so-called Fethullahçı Terör Örgütü. To the rest of the world, it’s the Hizmet movement founded by Fethullah Gülen, a former close and important ally of Erdoğan. No one else sees it as violent. Erdoğan’s accusation that it organized the coup attempt is noxious and absurd.
It is well known that the institute is inspired by the peaceful teachings of Fethullah Gülen, whose decades-long commitment to education, altruistic community service, and interfaith harmony has inspired millions around the world. Gülen has reinterpreted aspects of Islamic tradition to meet the needs of contemporary Muslims.
Why is the president of a country of 75 million so obsessed with pursuing a retired preacher who has been living in the U.S. since 1999? There are three main reasons for Erdogan’s obsession with Gulen: First, a desire to cover up massive and systemic corruption; second, the need for control over civic leaders and third, his need for a scapegoat to blame the country’s troubles and justify his authoritarian drive.
To consolidate his reign, Turkey’s president Mr. Erdogan intimidated his political opponents, emasculated the military, silenced the press, and enfeebled the judiciary; most recently, he pressed the parliament to amend the constitution to grant him essentially absolute powers.
Followers of this liberal U.S.-based cleric, Gulen, were scapegoated for the July 2016 coup. Tens of thousands of police officers and security officials were fired and even arrested, simply for being followers of Gulen, an opponent of ISIS. The Turkish President seems willing to blame everyone but ISIS, or even offer much of an anti-ISIS campaign.
The government canceled the passports of all public servants purged with a decree and imposed travel restrictions on them and their spouses. Visiting scholars were ordered to return to Turkey. Academic freedom has been significantly restricted. In short, the entire educational system of Turkey has been crushed by the crackdown following the coup-attempt.
Turkey’s President Recep Erdogan appears to be having a double dealings on taking the fight to ISIS. He has instead prefer a cosmetic approach in tackling the terrorist group. It is high time Erdogan purged himself of insincerity and religious rhetoric in the fight against ISIS and joined forces with other leaders to bring enduring peace to Turkey, the Middle-East and the various parts of the world.
Erdogan wants the Gulen-linked schools in Africa to be closed down, although they are the very educational establishments which are popular with Africa’s middle class. They have sprung up all over Africa in recent years. They are an affordable alternative to French schools.
During the past few months I interviewed scores of Turkish citizens who escaped from Turkey following the unsuccessful military coup, fearing for their lives. Many of them left their families behind. Although it has the potential of becoming a major player on the global stage, Turkey’s brilliant prospects are being squandered because of President Erdogan’s insatiable lust for power.