Even before the coup attempt in July, the judiciary was being essentially taken over by [then] PM Tayyip Erdogan. When the attempted coup occurred in July, within 24 hours there were arrest warrants for almost 3,000 judges. And it’s very clear, and in fact it’s been admitted by the deputy chair of the High Council [of Judges and Prosecutors, the body that selects and assigns judges], that that list of judges had existed for years.
They seemed an utterly normal family and yet were scared to publicly reveal their names. They came from Turkey, where a coup attempt in July led to a government sweep of mass arrests and firings. Targeted with particular suspicion: anyone affiliated with a popular movement known for its schools, good works, pro-Western brand of Islam and perceived elusiveness.
Until this summer, Cetin Gul of Istanbul, Turkey, worked as a videographer for a company that did promotional work for clients that included a charity organization. That charity, Hizmet, is associated with the movement of Fethullah Gulen. After a deadly and unsuccessful coup attempt by some in the Turkish military in July, the government began suppressing organizations associated with him. “Because of the direct association with Hizmet, I was a direct target,” Mr. Gul said.
Mehmet Barlas, a columnist from the pro-government Sabah daily who is known as a staunch supporter of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, claimed in his column on Wednesday that US President Barack Obama could be an “imam” of the faith-based Gülen movement in Washington.
Texas education officials have dismissed a complaint against the state’s largest charter school network after determining two major charges leveled against it by the Turkish government were baseless. “The flagrant lies spread by these foreign agents are unconscionable,” said Robert Schulman, a lawyer representing Harmony Public Schools.
On September 1, the American Booksellers Association joined American publishers, authors, and librarians in a letter urging President Obama to protest the widespread suppression of free speech in Turkey during his September 4 meeting with Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan in China.
Yesilova prepared rich Turkish coffee for those who stopped by a table for the Turkish Cultural Center at the festival, which took place at Clifton High School. The event, which featured food and performances from around the world, was part of more than a year-long commemoration of Clifton’s 100th anniversary.
Although Turkey immediately blamed Gulen for the coup attempt, it took Ankara nearly six weeks to make a formal request for his extradition — and that was based on earlier alleged crimes, not for his supposed role in the coup.
Even before Mustafa Safak arrived at Temple Chai on Wednesday for closing Yom Kippur services, the San Antonio Muslim read up on the traditions associated with the Jewish holiday. Members of Temple Chai attended events this summer marking Ramadan, Islam’s holy month, celebrated June 5 to July 5 this year. “Now they’re reciprocating,” Safak said.
A Turkish family of four has settled in New Hampshire, fleeing a crackdown in their homeland that has led to the arrests of thousands of civil servants. They can’t go home but they can’t stay here forever; the tourist visas that brought them here will expire. So they wait, and they worry.
Edward Owen, professor of Middle East history at Harvard, said that he did not believe in Reynold’s certainty of Gülen’s guilt. Owen added that when a person writes “alarmist pieces” like Reynolds’, the main audience for the pieces is Washington. “It is a way of calling attention to yourself, and I imagine that Professor Reynolds would like his name registered by the people in Washington as somebody to go to, to employ, when there is a change in administration in Washington,” Owen said.
Turkish security services have reportedly been planning an attack on U.S.-based preacher Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish cleric suspected of masterminding the July 15 coup plot, a number of sources confirmed. The source said a Turkish intelligence unit in the U.S. had been monitoring the Gulen’s compound for several weeks and that the security was easy to breach.
Director of the Peace Keeping and Human Rights Program at Columbia University David Phillips says surveillance is possibly going on here in the US, even in Arkansas. “There are widespread reports that Turkey’s national intelligence agency is recruiting informants in order to identify so-called Gulenists or opponents of the regime.”