Kalashnikov-carrying police raid Gülen-inspired girls’ dormitory


Date posted: September 30, 2015

Police officers carrying Kalashnikov rifles conducted a raid at a girls’ school dormitory in eastern Van province on Sunday, a move that is seen as part of an ongoing government-orchestrated operation targeting the faith-based Gülen movement, popularly known as the Hizmet movement.

According to the news website merkurhaber.com, the raid on the Private Azimet Secondary School girls’ dormitory was based on claims that the school had collected the hides of animals sacrificed during the Eid al-Adha holiday, and was carried out by police officers from the local anti-smuggling and organized crime bureau at around 3:30 p.m. on Sunday under the leadership of Van Province Police Commissioner Ateş Taflı. Despite having been asked for yet failing to present a search warrant, police officers conducted a search of the dining hall, accompanied by attorneys representing the dormitory. At the conclusion of the search, the officers reported, “No evidence of illegal activity was detected with regard to the dormitory.” The police officers left the school around 5:30 p.m.

A recent government circular sent to police departments across Turkey told police to seize the hides of any animals sacrificed during the Eid al-Adha holiday collected on behalf of the “Fethullah Gülen terrorist organization” (FETÖ) — a derogatory term President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his political associates use to disparage the faith-based Gülen movement, a civil society organization.

During the Eid al-Adha holiday, millions of Muslims slaughter animals as a reminder of the Prophet Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael to God as an act of obedience and submission. The meat, offal and hides of more than 2.6 million animals — including cattle, sheep and goats – that are sacrificed across Turkey during Eid al-Adha, create a TL 10 billion market.

The raid is seen as part of a nationwide crackdown on institutions and individuals sympathetic to the Hizmet movement, which is inspired by the teachings of Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen. While serving as prime minister, Erdoğan accused the Gülen movement of plotting to overthrow his government and in May 2014 Erdoğan said he would carry out a “witch hunt” against anyone with links to the movement. Erdoğan has also ordered officials in Justice and Development Party (AK Party)-run municipalities to seize land and buildings belonging to the Gülen movement by any means necessary. The movement strongly rejects the allegations and no indictment has been brought against it.

Source: Today's Zaman , September 29, 2015


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