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.
The generals were never the script writers of the coups but only players. The script writers of the coup on July 15 in Turkey aimed to simulate a coup as if it was staged by the Gulen movement. It was simply a false flag. While only a few hundred soldiers were involved in the coup, more than ten thousand officers were purged and arrested. While the police officers challenged the coup plotters, twelve thousand police officers were fired two months after the coup.
The transparency of the Hizmet or Gülen Movement has long been a theme of various critics – writers, intellectuals and politicians. In the context of Turkey where secularism is deployed as a means to control religion rather than to separate it from politics, it is not hard to understand why this theme has been so popular.
Erdoğan’s ruling party has also begun issuing weapons permits to loyalists, especially through the Ottoman Youth Authority (Osmanli Ocaklari). I have previously reported Erdoğan’s appointment of former general Adnan Tanriverdi, the head of SADAT, to be his military counsel. Tanriverdi had been dismissed by the Turkish General Staff during the 1997 soft coup and appears bent on revenge against the secular order.
While critics say that Gülen is at best a cult figure, he is considered by many the legitimate spiritual leader of an Islamic movement that is focused on humanitarian service – hence the common name Hizmet – as well as interfaith dialogue and education.
Johanna Vuorelma Today’s Turkey is not the same Turkey that I experienced 10 years ago when I first lived there. Those years were filled with optimism, greater civil liberties, significant steps towards democracy, a booming economy and international admiration. Universities had become spaces for critical debates, opening new channels for discussions about some of the […]
The judiciary, media organisations, opposition parties, civil servants, charity groups, just to mention a few, are being subjected to a daily dose of massive abuses and suffocation in Turkey under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The recent catch to the abuse list is the sacking of medical professionals, scientists, and other academics from universities.
Erdoğan was born to a relatively poor family in Rize, along the Black Sea. His father was in the coast guard and worked at sea. Erdoğan at one point even sold snacks on the street to make extra cash. He graduated from a religious school in 1973, and immediately embarked on a political career, eventually becoming first mayor of Istanbul. So here’s the question: How did a man like Erdoğan become a billionaire several times over?
What happened to Recep Tayyip Erdogan? The Turkish president came to power in 2003 promising economic and political liberalization. But under his rule, Turkey has instead moved in a profoundly illiberal, authoritarian direction, which some feared was Erdogan’s true agenda, given his background in Islamist politics. Rather, Erdogan has become something more akin to a traditional Middle Eastern strongman: consolidating personal power, purging rivals, and suppressing dissent.
The recent unjustified arrest, detention, traumatization and subsequent release of 50 Nigerian students in Turkey by that country’s government must rank as a most unfortunate low in the Nigerian – Turkish relations. Seen in context, it constitutes an instance of unjustified victimization of innocent foreigners, out of misplaced grudge by a government that had no cause for such act of indiscretion.
To extradite Gulen would not only imply a high chance of an unfair trial, but would also sound the death knell of a blueprint for global peace. Gulen’s ideas have all the potential for a global approach to peace-building. John L. Esposito, a professor at Georgetown University and a highly respected expert on Islam, called Gulen’s initiatives “extraordinarily unique”, and suggested it would be “wise” for other Muslim movements to emulate them.
We can reasonably hope that there won’t be any large-scale bloody purges, Stalin-style. But Turkey is likely to grow further away from Europe. The convenient travel visas to the rest of Europe, which many Turks have hoped for, may be a long time away.