Ankara-supplied clerics spy on Turkish-Australian communities


Date posted: December 19, 2016

CHIP LE GRAND

Turkish imams preaching in Melbourne and Sydney mosques have been instructed to spy on Australian supporters of Fethulah Gulen, an exiled cleric blamed by President Recep ­Erdogan for the failed July coup bid in Ankara.

Details of how the Turkish government is using religious networks to inform against political opponents living abroad have emerged amid a “charm ­offensive’’ by the Erdogan ­regime to strengthen its support across the Muslim world.

Prime Minister Binali Yild­irim, a staunch Erdogan ally, ­recently received a large delegation of Australian Muslim leaders who travelled to Ankara to show solidarity with Turkey’s government.

The Australian Federation of Islamic Councils delegation was organised by AFIC board member Kazim Ates, a prominent commentator on Turkish affairs on SBS Radio. Mr Ates supports the ruling party, AKP, and said he believed the hierarchy of the Gulen movement was “evil’’.

The delegation, led by AFIC president Keysar Trad, met Mr Yildirim, his top advisers and other Turkish MPs and attended a session of the Turkish parliament. Mr Trad said that since ­returning, he had several meetings with Turkey’s ambassador to Canberra and leaders of the Hizmet movement founded by Mr Gulen.

“We see ourselves as peacemakers,’’ Mr Trad told The Australian. “We believe the elected government in Turkey deserves to be supported. We also believe that if there is anything we can do to create peace between the government and the Hizmet movement we should do that.’’

Since the failed coup which left 265 people dead, the Erdogan regime has savagely purged academics, teachers, lawyers and judges with ties to the Hizmet movement. An Australian professor ­arrested in Ankara shortly after the coup has spent five months in jail without charge. It is estimated more than 50,000 people have been detained and more than 100,000 purged from their jobs.

The English language Hurriyet Daily News has reported that Turkey’s ministry of religious ­affairs, the Diyanet, had compiled intelligence reports on Gulen supporters from information provided by imams ­posted to 38 countries, including Australia. Mr Ates said he was not aware of imams spying on worshippers but if they were, the practice was neither new nor ­unexpected. “I wouldn’t be surprised if the imams have been asked to prepare reports,’’ he said. “From the time the republic was founded civil servants were expected to be the agents of the government.’’

Turkish mosques in Australia have traditionally used imams supplied by the Diyanet, which also provides Friday sermons for imams to deliver throughout the Turkish-speaking world.

Under Mr Erdogan, the ­Diyanet has become overtly political. Anti-terrorism expert Greg Barton said this was creating deep tensions in Turkey communities abroad. “There is a very aggressive program around the world, through the Turkish Foreign Minister and also through the Diyanet, which is basically a campaign of coercion and surveillance of the Turkish diaspora,’’ Professor Barton said.

Source: The Australian , December 20, 2016


Related News

Police chiefs removed in four provinces across Turkey

The purges are thought to be an attempt to remove those the government believes are members of the Hizmet movement from public sector jobs.

Parallel state hunt makes McCarthyism look like child’s play

For the last year not a single day has passed without hearing these infamous words: parallel state. These were present in almost every speech made by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. They have been in the headlines everyday in every single newspaper close to the government.

Pro-gov’t daily sets up hotline for informing on Gülen followers in EU

The pro-government Sabah daily’s Europe edition, Sabah Avrupa, has set up a telephone line for its readers to report followers of the faith-based Gülen movement, against which Turkish authorities launched a witch hunt over its alleged involvement in a failed coup last summer.

Exit strategy for the AKP

Hizmet’s Journalists and Writers Foundation (GYV) reiterated last month, the AKP must, as soon as possible, start working towards EU reforms, the establishment of a fully democratic Turkey, the establishment of the rule of law, the most advanced fundamental rights and freedoms, equality of all before the law, a civilian constitution and a transparent state that can be held accountable.

Turkish and Australian organizations discuss multiculturalism

Turkish and Australian perspectives on multiculturalism and diversity differ according to experts talked at a workshop on Tuesday in Akçakoca. Discussing at the second day of the first Australia-Turkey Dialogue Workshop organized by the Abant Platform, participants agreed that multiculturalism was embraced by Australia far before it even began to be discussed in Turkey.

Pro-Erdogan journalist says killing Gülen followers, even their babies, a religious obligation

Hüseyin Adalan, a journalist working for a number of pro-government media outlets, has said it is a religious obligation to kill all followers of the Gülen movement and even their babies.

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

Turkey-Kurdistan Regional Government ties: How and why did they improve this much?

TUSKON warns against probing policemen under ‘shadow of politics’

Kimse Yok Mu lends helping hand to 3,000 orphans in 4 countries

East Indian Activist Supports Inter-cultural Dialog and Gulen Movement

Gülen to file lawsuit against PM Erdoğan over defamation campaign

White House courts int’l students as language festival concludes in DC

We need the Hizmet Movement example in Tunisia

Copyright 2022 Hizmet News