The Kano-based Islamic group also cautioned the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia against its planned involvement with the government of President Recep Erdogan of Turkey in the setting up of the NGO in some Muslim countries, saying such a body could end up as a vehicle for spreading intolerance and extremism in the world.
for Fatih Yildirim, the Muslim dad in the picture, becoming a viral sensation has been bittersweet. While he was lauded in global media outlets as diverse as Time and Good Housekeeping, back in his native Turkey Yildirim became the subject of a hostile media campaign that branded him a terrorist.
[Erdogan] has called Hizmet a state within a state, which to me is a strange characterization. To me, that’s like saying that the Catholics are a state within a state in America, or the Jews, a state within a state in America. Those kinds of statements are derogatory, they’re pejoratives. Catholics have a right to seek influence in America; Jews have a right to seek influence in America, that’s how we operate here.
I’m saddened to hear that the Hizmet Movement here is being categorized as a terror group. To classify them as terrorists in any form is a great misrepresentation. And I consider it a privilege and an honor to be associated with them and to be part of the brotherhood. They’re a benefit to the Muslim community and humanity as a whole.
As the Turkish lira plunged even further on Friday, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım claimed the Gülen movement was responsible for the deterioration in the country’s economic outlook. According to Yıldırım, “separatists” and sympathizers of the Gülen movement are working hard to ruin the Turkish economy in the eyes of the world.
Erdoğan has exploited the presence of Gülen-inspired people in the state bureaucracy as a tool to silence all opposition and grasp yet more power. If the Gülen movement did not exist, the president would have needed to create another “enemy of the state” to fight against in order to reach his ultimate aim.
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.