Witch hunt against the Gülen followers in Europe


Date posted: June 1, 2014

EMRE USLU

Political madness in Turkey is at its peak. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan does not even refrain from using the term “witch hunt” against the Gülen followers. When Erdoğan and his circle don’t find any evidence, they allegedly try to produce evidence. Bureaucrats who don’t want to be part of Erdoğan’s witch hunt have sent letters to the media and prosecutors confessing what they are doing. Unfortunately, what they said in those letters has been confirmed by later developments.Although it was presented as if this hunt is only against the Gülen movement, the reality on the ground tells otherwise. When they think it is appropriate to include Justice and Development Party (AKP) opposition who have nothing to do with Gülenists, they label them as Gülenists and remove from their posts.

The first aim of the witch hunters is to punish those who conduct operations against the corrupt AKP members. For instance, they fired the police chiefs who conducted the corruption operations. They didn’t even bother to follow the standard procedures when they fired them.

They have hired social media trolls to launch a smear campaign against those who criticize the government. They have employed an army of journalists to produce lies on a daily basis to continue the smear campaign against the opposition.

Against this smear campaign culture generated by the government and its media outlets, people naturally become radicalized. It seems the government deliberately wants the targeted groups to become radicalized, which would make the government conduct the much-desired witch-hunt more easily should those groups get involved in criminal activities.

It seems that Gülen followers are well aware of this objective of the government. They have issued warnings to their followers to keep them calm and never get involved in  any wrongdoings.

The biggest advantage that the Gülen movement has is its well-maintained channels of communications between its institutions and members. So far, the movement has successfully maintained its calm amid all the agitation coming from government circles.

Perhaps because the government realized that they could not dismantle the group and could not criminalize them and incite them to get radicalized,  they have now adopted different strategies.

The recent trend is to threaten Gülen members at an individual level. More important, the witch hunt has reached Europe. The newly established pro-AKP network in Europe has been mobilized to conduct a witch hunt against Gülen supporters in Europe.

One area where the witch hunt is being conducted is Belgium. People I know there have contacted me and told me how members of the pro-AKP network are involved in profiling individuals and told me about their witch hunt activities in Europe.

Normally, it is considered a crime in Europe to profile people based on their beliefs and group identities. However, the AKP network in Europe is not bothered about committing such a crime.

While committing this crime of profiling, these individuals use the name of Turkish state officials; they are threatening citizens of European countries, which is another kind of crime.

For instance, a number of business owners from Beringen and Brussels reached out to me and said the heads of the pro-AKP network in Europe came and threatened them on behalf of the Turkish government. They even named Osman Güneş, deputy minister of interior in Turkey, and said: “Osman Güneş wants us to make lists of those Gülen members in Europe and send them to him. There is a group formed in the Ministry of Interior to develop preventive measures against Gülenists in Europe and Mr. Güneş is the head of this group. He has asked us to make lists and send them to him.”

If the authorities in Belgium want me to share the names of those involved in these illegal activates, I would not hesitate to share them.

I could not confirm whether Mr. Güneş is aware of the religious profiling that has been going on in Europe on behalf of him, and I don’t know if he is personally involved in it, but it seems logical that you would expect such profiling from the AKP network in Europe.

I don’t even think those ignorant members of the pro-AKP network would even know who Osman Güneş is. Mr. Güneş is not a high-profile public figure who people could benefit from. Thus, one would easily see the direct link between those profiling and harassment activities in Europe and in Belgium in particular and the guidance of Turkish officials behind them.

When you have this type of mindset in Turkey, it doubles among the Turkish diaspora in Europe. Thus, I am wondering if the people used by AKP officials are those who would easily turn these profiling and harassment activities into violent attacks against their “enemies” pinpointed by the Erdoğan government…

Source: Todays Zaman , June 1, 2014


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