Turkey’s purge of academics has already harmed the reputation of its higher education sector, the latest Free to Think report from the New York-based Scholars at Risk (SAR) noted adding that it risks greater damage by isolating Turkish scholars, students, and institutions from the international flow of ideas and talent.
Edzard Reuter, the son of the first mayor of West Berlin Ernst Reuter and the former chairman of the German automaker Daimler-Benz, said Turkey’s post-coup purge recalls what happened during early years of Nazi regime at his home country.
Hizmet, the social movement inspired by the neo-Sufi thinker Fetullah Gülen, is currently being dismembered by the autocratic president of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. He accuses Gülen of ordering a coup attempt on 15th July 2016, saying it was was led by Hizmet members in the army.
Calgary-based Imam Davud Hanci was arrested on allegations that he was the mastermind behind a failed coup attempt in July to remove Turkish President Recep Erdogan from power — allegations Hanci’s family called “ridiculous.”
Just ten years ago, Turkish Parliament Speaker Bulent Arinc recalled a dramatic scene. One diplomat dropped his teacup upon hearing that he was posted to Mongolia with 5,000 USD, special residence, and a car — a lavish job at that time. “How can I live there?” the diplomat reportedly asked, according to Arinc.
In yet another example of scapegoating the Gülen movement for anything bad in Turkey or in anywhere else in the world, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s chief advisor Yiğit Bulut hinted at connections between FETÖ and the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the US.
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.
B.N.M., a freshman high school student killed herself allegedly after being bullied by classmates and lecturers over her teacher father’s dismissal from the profession due to his ties to the Gülen movement, on Oct. 24.
In a written statement released both in Turkish and English, UK-based academic Özcan Keleş denied recent allegations about him that appeared in Turkey’s mostly pro-government media outlets, saying that only his name, his father’s name, his hometown and the fact that Aksaray is a city in Turkey were accurate in the articles. “Everything else is untrue,” Keleş says.