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

Prof. Scott Alexander: Hizmet is a social movement for peace

“What I have personally observed is that Hizmet is a movement that embraces contrasts and in which everyone can find a place for themselves. It’s a globally transformational movement. It is, on the other hand, able to combine tradition and modernity and bring them around the common values. Although I might not be necessarily exercising your values, I consider myself a part of this movement. The principles that lead the movement are what lead my life as well.” Alexander remarked.

Turkish PM Erdoğan’s imagined enemies

Turkey is no longer the old Turkey. The affluent middle class, the young population and stronger civil society organizations, strengthened by the digital revolution with such tools as social media and Internet portals, will resist any attempts to turn the clock backwards on the development of Turkish democracy. People will simply ask why Prime Minister Erdoğan is not going after his people who have been sleeping with the enemy next door if he is really sincere in addressing external threats to this great nation.

The Hizmet movement, social democracy, the religious left

The organizers announced that the conference would on the first day focus on “the Hizmet movement, inspired by the Turkish preacher Fethullah Gülen, which is portrayed by many as an example of modern, ‘enlightened’ Islam, oriented towards dialogue and co-operation rather than conflict.

Gulenists dismissed, purged, and tortured: Canadian Immigration Board

The findings of IRB indicated that detainees in Turkey have faced different forms of torture and ill-treatment. They include severe beatings, threats of sexual assault and actual sexual assault, electric shocks, waterboarding, punches/kicking, blows with objects, falaqa [foot beating], threats and verbal abuse, being forced to strip naked, rape with objects and other sexual violence or threats thereof, sleep deprivation, stress positions, and extended blindfolding and/or handcuffing for several days.

Ergenekon opinion lists subversive plans for coup d’état

A lead prosecutor involved in the trial of the Ergenekon terrorist organization listed in his final opinion of the case several plots by the terrorist group to spark chaos in society so as to lay the groundwork for a military coup. One such plan was the Action Plan to Fight Reactionaryism, which detailed a military campaign to destroy the image of the ruling AK Party and the faith-based Gulen movement in the eyes of the public.

Ultranationalist Columnist Says Turkey Must Get Rid Of Gülen Followers, Hints At Mass Burning

Sabahattin Önkibar, a columnist for the Aydınlık daily, which is affiliated with the ultranationalist Homeland Party (VP) of Doğu Perinçek, said on Sunday that Turkey must immediately get rid of sympathizers of the faith-based Gülen movement and hinted at their mass burning.

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

Kimse Yok Mu opens education complex in Kenya

Visually impaired journalist’s letter shows he can barely survive in prison

Rumi Forum bestows Peace and Dialogue awards 2013

Turkey’s crackdown threatens German stability, Gulen followers fear

Response to aspersion on Hizmet

Turkey Assails a Revered Islamic Moderate

Fatih University wins European Universities Championship

Copyright 2024 Hizmet News