Caretaker AK Party gov’t criticized for police operation against youth association

Police raided a youth association founded by former Balıkesir Governor Ahmet Turhan that is giving Quran lessons to 60 children, based on
Police raided a youth association founded by former Balıkesir Governor Ahmet Turhan that is giving Quran lessons to 60 children, based on "reasonable suspicion." (Photo: Cihan)

Date posted: July 3, 2015


The interim Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government has been criticized by opposition party members for a police raid on Thursday on the headquarters of a youth association in Balıkesir, in what is considered to be yet another government-orchestrated operation against institutions connected with the faith-based Gülen movement, popularly known as the Hizmet movement, inspired by the views of the Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen.

The operation was conducted on the basis of “reasonable suspicion.”

With the law passed in December 2014, the threshold for the burden of proof that is required for obtaining a search warrant was reduced from strong and concrete evidence to mere reasonable suspicion. The police are not only able to easily search any individual, home or vehicle but also can easily seize the property of all so-called dissidents on the grounds that they committed a crime against the government.

The Yağmur Education, Culture, Youth and Sports Association, which was founded in 2013 by Ahmet Turhan, the Balıkesir governor of the time, has been giving Quran lessons to 60 children during Ramadan. Turhan stated during the launch of the association that it sets an example for the education of young people, saying, “Institutions like the Yağmur Education, Culture, Youth and Sports Association should increase in number.”

Officers from the Balıkesir Anti-smuggling and Organized Crime Bureau conducted an hour-long search of the association’s headquarters. An operating ledger, a receipt and other books belonging to the association were impounded as evidence.

The police were criticized by a number of people for raiding an association known for organizing events to keep young people away from bad habits like drugs, alcohol and smoking, in the holy month of Ramadan.

İsmail Ok, Balıkesir Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) mayor, criticized the government’s attitude, saying “Unfortunately, the government is taking revenge on the association and using its authority for wrong purposes. They will be held accountable for the injustices they committed by means of the law of “reasonable suspicion.”

Republican People’s Party (CHP) Balıkesir deputy Namık Havutça stated that this kind of attitude towards associations is not acceptable. “We do not accept the government’s treatment of associations as terrorist organizations. It does not fit with the improved Turkey of the 21st century.”

Yağmur Education, Culture, Youth and Sports Association President Musa Baydar emphasized that the association has been serving the youth of Balıkesir for three years. “Young people are under the threat of hazards like drugs, alcohol and smoking. Our association aims at keeping the young people of Balıkesir away from those hazards. We are teaching the Quran to 60 young members of our association in Ramadan.” Baydar expressed his disappointment about the police raid, saying, “We felt both strange and sad that a Quran teaching association is raided by the police in the holy month of Ramadan.”

Similar operations took place in the offices of civil society organizations, charity foundations and education centers established by people close to the Hizmet movement in June.

The operations are widely believed to be an act of retribution by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s administration for a corruption investigation that went public in December 2013. Erdoğan claims the Gülen movement tried — and failed — to carry out a coup attempt against him and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government through the graft investigation which became public knowledge on Dec. 17 and 25, 2013, implicating former Cabinet ministers, prominent businessmen close to the administration and members of Erdoğan’s family.

Source: Today's Zaman , July 03, 2015

Related News

They think we are terrorists, they think we are evil

Another woman, a former Turkish journalist before the government shut down papers that spoke out against it, said: “I feel like my voice has been taken. People don’t feel safe in London, even going shopping, because we don’t know what radicals will do.”

Back to school in Turkey after post-coup teacher purge

As more than 18 million children began the new term after the summer break, Huseyin Ozev, president of the Istanbul teachers’ union, told AFP there were fears the academic year would begin with “chaos” because of huge staff shortages.

Plot against Samanyolu media group detected

A plot created by an anonymous Internet user to manipulate an employee of the Samanyolu Media Group to frame the institution has been detected thanks to evidence given by the Samanyolu employee after relatives reported his involvement.

Two additional Turkish schools to open in Casablanca

Two additional Turkish schools, one of which will provide education in English in Morocco for the very first time, will be set up in Casablanca, Morocco Turkish Schools General Director İbrahim Aktaş announced on Tuesday. The first Turkish school on the African continent was opened in Morocco in the city of Tangiers in 1994. Other schools were subsequently opened in 52 African countries.

Imran Khan denounces expected closure of Pak-Turk schools

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan condemned the expected move to close Pak-Turk schools across the country.
“We stand firmly by Turkish democracy but closure of Pak-Turk schools in Pakistan, which has a high illiteracy rate, could be disastrous for the country,” he said.


Parties in the Tweede Kamer – the lower house of Dutch parliament – are furious about statements the Turkish ambassador to the Netherlands made pressuring the Dutch government to help hunt down supporters of the Gulen-movement. Numerous parliamentarians expressed their annoyance to

Latest News

Fethullah Gülen’s Condolence Message for South African Human Rights Defender Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Hizmet Movement Declares Core Values with Unified Voice

Ankara systematically tortures supporters of Gülen movement, Kurds, Turkey Tribunal rapporteurs say

Erdogan possessed by Pharaoh, Herod, Hitler spirits?

Devious Use of International Organizations to Persecute Dissidents Abroad: The Erdogan Case

A “Controlled Coup”: Erdogan’s Contribution to the Autocrats’ Playbook

Why is Turkey’s Erdogan persecuting the Gulen movement?

Purge-victim man sent back to prison over Gulen links despite stage 4 cancer diagnosis

University refuses admission to woman jailed over Gülen links

In Case You Missed It

Journalist reveals inspiring story of Turkish schools in book

Opposition CHP to take Gül-approved dershane law to Constitutional Court

Erdoğan’s allegations proven to be incorrect, contradictory over time

Comments on Turkey coup attempt by Prof. John Whyte

Cambodia’s Zaman Institutes Get Big-Name Backing

Islamic scholar Gülen criticizes Turkish gov’t response to Gezi protests

Escape from Turkey’s parallel reality

Copyright 2022 Hizmet News