Around 400 Turks living in Pakistan have been ordered by the Pakistani government to leave in next three days. Isn’t it deplorable that the government has to do so only to bring a radiant smile on Erdogan’s face? Is Erdogan’s smile worth more than the tears of Pak-Turk students?
In sharp contrast to Boko Haram, there is a faith-inspired group, a civil society movement that engages in education, dialogue and charitable activities and has grown out of Muslim grass roots. Check out how disturbed Boko Haram is about Hizmet’s education campaign, which offers opportunities for both boys and girls. Check out how ISIL publications outline exactly how they hate the Hizmet movement’s efforts and why they see Hizmet as their “enemies.”
It appears Erdogan fears that if the judiciary begins trial for key political prisoners, the prisoners would have a venue at which to speak and raise questions Erdogan does not want addressed, especially with regard to the possibility that the events on the evening of July 15 were Turkey’s equivalent of the Reichstag fire.
Apart from establishing most successful educational institutions in Nigeria, the Hizmet Movement, which is also referred to as Gulen Movement, has been in the fore-front in propagating modern face of Islam, while at the same time building bridges of peace through interfaith dialogue.
In Pakistan, where more than 27 million children remain out of school, every teacher and educational institution matters. The Turkish non-governmental schools in question are ranked among the best in terms of in infrastructure, as well as quality of education and character-building.
Yet more than three years since the public feud between Erdoğan and Gülen began, the allegations against the Gülen movement of infiltrating the state, plotting coups, and proselytizing students through its schools still rest on speculation.
Rumors have circulated throughout Turkey that, under the guise of averting a prison riot, Erdogan might order his forces to fire on the prisons. It is not a scenario beyond the realm of possibility; after all, the late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi did something similar, killing more than 1,000 political prisoners.
Turkish engagement with Southern Africa will not be without challenges. The success of this engagement will depend on the Turkish attitude towards the Hizmet Movement. If Turkey decides to tackle the Hizmet Movement head on as it has done in Turkey and in other countries, it will risk alienation in South Africa and the wider region. The Hizmet Movement is generally popular in Southern Africa, with long standing ties to civil society and the political elite.
Turkey’s alliances with the US and EU are fraying badly. Above all, Mr Erdogan is moulding the country in his own image, with only a uniform message allowed. As one liberal intellectual puts it: “In the past you got arrested for what you said, but now you can be arrested for what you don’t say.”
Gulen movement, which is inspired by the highly-respected United States based cleric, Fethullah Gulen, has been brazenly targeted for total destruction by President Erdogan after the failed coup in that country few months ago. The iron-hand President accused members and sympathisers of the movement as being behind the coup.
I’ve been writing about Turkey for more than a decade now. It’s a beautiful country, rich in history, and a complex society but, boy, in recent years their trolling has left a lot to be desired. It’s not just the internet trolls who have fallen far behind but also Turkish diplomats and even senior aides to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Those in prison—educated, Western-oriented intellectuals and bureaucrats, liberals, Kurds, civil society activists, and supporters of exiled cleric Fethullah Gülen—are in mortal danger. When blood flows from the prisons, it will be no accident nor should anyone believe Erdogan’s security forces were simply reacting to a crisis.
Critics of the ruling AKP expect it to sell Gulen-linked companies to government allies in the business world at a large discount. In mid-October the AKP-linked Metro Holding applied to the TMSF to acquire all of Koza Ipek Holding’s shares. Akin Ipek, the fugitive former owner of the conglomerate, asked on Twitter how Koza Ipek’s $600 million in cash and $20 billion in mining assets could be acquired by a comparatively unimpressive entity. Metro Holding’s capital comes to just over $95 million.
I will start on high-note. The Hizmet movement is not a cult. The participants of the Hizmet movement are not terrorist. The Hizmet movement philosophy does not encourage any form of violence, let alone coup plotting. The Hizmet movement is anchored on love, tolerance, and peaceful co-existence.