The AKP government, under emergency rule, has taken over hundreds companies, seized the assets of businessmen and shut down institutions linked to the movement. Despite the fact that Gülen denied the accusation and called for an international investigation into the coup attempt, President Erdoğan – calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” – and the Turkish government launched a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement.
Cemil Barlas, a staunch supporter of Tayyip Erdoğan and commentator for the pro-government A Haber TV, said during a program that followers of the Gülen movement, which the government accuses of being behind a failed coup on July 15, must be kept in detention camps and should be given food tickets.
Turkish cleric Nurettin Yıldız demanded a fatwa from Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate suggesting that supporters of Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, who is accused by the Turkish government and Erdoğan of masterminding a failed coup in July, be executed, their opposing hands and feet be amputated or be exiled instead of keeping them in prisons.
In recent years, the movement has received more scrutiny, not least after its long-time alley, Turkish President Erdogan, publicly split with the group, accusing it of infiltrating state institutions and even outright “terrorism”. Germany’s intelligence services disagree: In 2014, they published an assessment outlining that while some elements within the movement gave room for concern, they didn’t warrant an observation of the movement.
The Alliance for Shared Values of the US & The Dialogue Platform of the UK have prepared a report on “UK’s relations with Turkey” that focuses on the Hizmet Movement. The report may be downloaded, disseminated for free and even printed. Representatives from these organizations were personally invited to submit written evidence by the Committee to explain Hizmet and provide Hizmet’s response to the AKP government’s allegations against Fethullah Gülen and the Hizmet movement.
An email included in Wikileaks’ Monday publication of the leaked emails of Berat Albayrak, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s son-in-law and Turkey’s minister of energy, shows that Albayrak fabricated news with pro-government people in the United States in order to defame the Gülen movement in the US media.
The UK Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee is examining the bilateral relationship between the UK and Turkey, focusing on rights and freedoms as well as how Turkish foreign and security policies relate to those of the UK. The inquiry is ongoing.
The state-run Savings Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF) has announced that a total of 691 companies, some of whose assets are worth billions of dollars, have been seized by the government due to alleged links to the faith-based Gülen movement. The government has been confiscating the private property of non-loyalist businesspeople without due process on unsubstantiated charges of terrorist links.
The Concerned African Youth against Tyranny (CAYAT) has denied report that the Fethullah Gulen Movement and Hizmet Movement are terrorist groups. National Coordinator of the organisation, Mr. Musa Shaba said yesterday in Abuja that contrary to claims by the Turkish government the movement has become the face of Turkey in Nigeria and Africa.
Turkish businessmen fleeing arrest in their country for links to an alleged terrorist organisation are trying to set up a new life and open companies in South Africa. Speaking on condition of anonymity to Weekend Argus, a few of the businessmen explained how the Turkish government seized their homes and businesses. The businessmen say some of their families are still at risk back home.
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.”
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.
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.
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.