University of Florida and the failed coup in Turkey


Date posted: July 27, 2016

On July 15 in Istanbul, Turkey, soldiers closed the two bridges across the Bosphorus, the first indication that elements of the army were planning to remove the government of President Recip Tayyip Erdogan. In Ankara, the national capital, other soldiers took control of television stations and shelled the parliament building. President Erdogan had to use social media to rally his supporters. But by morning it was all over with Erdogan in full control.

A short-lived effort at regime change in a faraway country can’t affect us, but the government response has an impact on our campus and many others.

Academics are forbidden to leave the country, and any currently abroad are required to return. The day before the coup, 25 faculty from Gazi University in Ankara arrived in Gainesville, several with their families, to begin an intensive program in the UF English Language Institute. They have been informed that administrators at their university have “resigned,” and they await an order to return home immediately. A friend at a university in Virginia reported a Turkish colleague on a one year exchange has been ordered back to Turkey “to be investigated.”

Turkey’s Ministry of National Education has summarily dismissed thousands of educators, from research professors to primary school teachers, from their jobs. Since UF has long welcomed large numbers of Turkish students, UF alumni are certainly among them. If they are found to have ties to the Gulen movement, they will never be able to teach in Turkey again and unable to take posts abroad.

Erdogan has taken the excuse of a failed coup to launch a full-scale purge of suspected members of the Gulen movement from the military, the judiciary and education. Although Gulenists were his staunch allies in his rise to power, he broke with them and now wants to eliminate their influence altogether.

Who are the Gulenists? A movement grown around Fethullah Gulen, a Muslim religious scholar, that spread within Turkey and around the world. Its members everywhere promote interfaith dialogue and understanding, operating a network of charities and secular schools, encouraging good relations with Israel and opposing hardline groups like the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, as well as all violence in the name of religion. To President Erdogan, its continued existence makes it “a state within a state,” and a rival to his own government and the Islamist party he heads.

In the 1930s, American universities stood up for scholars who were excluded from academic positions because of race, religion or political opinions and sponsored many of them who came to this country. The current situation may or may not be as dire, but every institution of higher learning ought to do everything possible to assist former students, classmates and colleagues who are caught in this government crackdown. Will UF lead the way?


Richard K. MacMaster is a retired UF professor of history.

Source: Alligator , July 25, 2016


Related News

Suspicious Deaths And Suicides On The Rise In Turkey With 54 People In Last 8 Months

Against the background of massive crackdown on critics and opponents in Turkey and widespread torture practices in detentions and prisons, 54 people were reported to have lost their lives, most under suspicious circumstances and under lock-up in the last eight months.

Pro-gov’t journalist proposes torturing jailed Gülen followers to force them to talk

Staunchly pro-government Turkish journalist Cem Küçük has complained about Turkish authorities’ not forcing jailed Gülen movement followers to speak about the group’s activities, suggesting that various kinds of torture could be used to make them talk, the Aktif Haber news website reported. Küçük’s controversial remarks came during a recent segment of “Media Critic” on TGRT […]

Is the Gulen Movement a Threat to the Turkish Government?

Hakan Yesilova The Turkish press has been dominantly occupied with the coup and violence in Egypt and Syria, and one more issue that has erupted, as if out of no where, is a so-called rift between the government and the Gulen Movement (GM), an influential faith-inspired educational movement. The story goes that some influential circles […]

Flautre: Investigation into Taraf daily, journalist over MGK docs ‘scandalous’

Hélène Flautre, the co-chairwoman of the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee, has described the launch of an investigation into the Taraf daily and journalist Mehmet Baransu for publishing records of controversial National Security Council (MGK) documents as being “scandalous” and “inappropriate,” adding that she has serious concerns about freedom of the press in Turkey.

Prof. Ergil: Gülen is in general a very bashful person

Fethullah Gülen’s general conduct is modest. He does not consider himself superior to anybody else, and he holds tolerance in the highest regard. The way that these values reveal themselves in his personal conduct are that Gülen listens carefully to others before he begins to speak. He is also in general a very bashful person.

ECtHR Asks Turkish Gov’t For Explanation Over The Case Of Abducted Lawyer

The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has decided to evaluate the application of Emine Özben whose husband Mustafa Özben (42), a Bar-registered lawyer and academic, was abducted on May 9, 2017 in Ankara  by elements linked to Turkish security and intelligence services on August 4, 2017.

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

Future’s continent and African renaissance

TUSKON challenges Erdoğan to enter business, defies threats

Gülen calls on corrupt politicians to confess their sins, beg forgiveness

Sacred, Secular, Twin Tolerations and the Hizmet Movement

Malaysia detains Turkish academic second time at Turkey’s request

Supreme court calls on AK Party’s Şahin to substantiate claim about Gülen

Prominent businessman Akın İpek pledges huge support to Kimse Yok Mu

Copyright 2022 Hizmet News