Erdoğan’s accusation that Hizmet organized the coup attempt is noxious and absurd


Date posted: February 23, 2017

Daniel Pipes

I participated Tuesday in a conference about the eastern Mediterranean at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies (BESA) just outside Tel Aviv; and because Tel Aviv is the diplomatic center of Israel, its events attract a good number of diplomats. Tuesday was no exception, with a foreign minister and other diplomats from several eastern Mediterranean countries, including Albania, Cyprus, Egypt, Greece, and Turkey.


The name of that “terrorist organization” was not spoken, but Ökem was referring to the so-called Fethullahçı Terör Örgütü. To the rest of the world, it’s the Hizmet movement founded by Fethullah Gülen, a former close and important ally of Erdoğan’s. No one else sees it as violent. Erdoğan’s accusation that it organized the July 2016 coup attempt is noxious and absurd.


My talk surveyed the role of Islamism in the region. In the question-and-answer period, Turkey’s newly-appointed ambassador, Kemal Ökem, vigorously protested points I had made about his country. I defended these, then challenged Ökem (in a video that can be viewed here):

Pipes: I started going to Turkey in 1972. I studied Turkish, not very successfully, but I did study it. I’ve gone back many times. And at this point, I dare not go back to Turkey because I am critical, as you may have heard, of the government and, in particular, I supported the July 15th coup [a position] which is absolutely an outrage in Turkey. And so, I dare not go back to Turkey. And so, let me ask you, Mr. Ambassador, would it be it safe for me to go to Turkey and spend some time there or just go through the airport? You have a great airline that I would love to use but I dare not use it. Would I be safe going to Turkey?

Ökem: If you say that you support the failed coup attempt that killed 250 Turkish civilians and if you that say you support the kind of organization which we call a terrorist organization, which is a religious cult by the way, and trying to export something, if you say that, I would rather advise you not to go there because you be an accomplice, considered an accomplice. [laughter]

Pipes: That’s what I was expecting.

Ökem: It’s an expected answer but it’s legitimate answer. I mean, I would advise you to find good legal advice before you travel to Turkey.

The name of that “terrorist organization” was not spoken, but Ökem was referring to the so-called Fethullahçı Terör Örgütü, or FETÖ (Fethullah Terror Organization). To the rest of the world, it’s the Hizmet movement founded by Fethullah Gülen, a former close and important ally of Erdoğan’s until the two of them split. No one else sees it as violent, much less terroristic. Erdoğan’s accusation that it organized the July 2016 coup attempt is noxious and absurd.

This ambassador’s statement has several interesting implications:

  • Left unspoken was what would happen to me, were I foolish enough to venture to Turkey, so I’ll make it explicit here: As someone deemed an accomplice of FETÖ, I would be jailed without charges and held for who-knows-how-long.
  • This is despite my having a long record of being critical of the Gülen movement. For example, the Middle East Quarterly, a journal I publish, ran so important a critical article on Hizmet by Rachel Sharon-Krespin in 2009 that it was translated and prominently featured by the leftist Turkish daily Cumhuriyet.
  • An arch critic of the Soviet Union, such as my father, Richard Pipes, had no problem visiting Russia in the still-repressive post-Stalinist era. In other words, Ankara, a member of NATO and a formal ally of the United States, imposes a higher level of thought control than did the USSR.
  • Turkish Airlines would seem to be the only airline whose passengers must pass an ideological test if they hope to complete their journey without danger of getting thrown in jail.

I have visited Turkey, one of my favorite destinations, ten times over 45 years, with the final trip in 2012. I shall miss the country. Like tens of millions of Turks, I look forward to celebrating the early termination of the Erdoğan regime.


Original title of the article is “Erdogan to Me: Stay Out of Turkey”

 

Source: National Review , February 23, 2017


Related News

Gülen files criminal complaint over smear campaign

Gülen’s lawyer Nurallah Albayrak said Yusuf Ünal crossed beyond freedom of speech by launching defamation campaign against the Turkish Islamic scholar, attacking his personality.

Welcome to the Republic of Paranoia

Since conflicting with the secularist segments of society in the Gezi Park events, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government has taken on a paranoid mentality that tends to relate all developments that are against the AKP government with some form of conspiracy against it. As a result of this paranoid outlook, the AKP government has now gotten itself into a conflict with the Gülen movement. It is arguing that the Gülen movement is working in conjunction with foreign forces to harm the government.

AKP turns medical university into its headquarters

Şifa University, which was seized by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government due to links to the Gülen movement, has been transformed into the AKP’s İzmir provincial headquarters.

Government plans to unlawfully take over aid organization

The Justice and Development Party’s (AK Party) efforts to undermine the largest aid organization in Turkey, Kimse Yok Mu (Is Anybody There?) reached a new level with alleged preparations to dissolve the board of the organization and appoint a trustee instead, although no legal grounds exist for such a move.

Profiled lawyer files criminal complaint against MİT, MGK

Taraf began publishing a string of confidential documents suggesting that the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government and MİT had collected information on a large number of individuals through 2013 at the request of the MGK. The targets were reportedly members of the Hizmet movement, a faith-based community inspired by Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen.

Feud between Turkey’s Erdogan and influential cleric goes public

A feud between Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and an influential Islamic cleric has spilled into the open months ahead of elections, highlighting fractures in the religiously conservative support base underpinning his decade in power. The reclusive cleric drew parallels with the behavior of the secularist military in the build up to past coups.

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’s purges are hitting its business class

President Gül opens Turkish-Kazakh school in Astana

Democracy on the rocks in Turkey

Whistleblower says gov’t preparing to close down Gülen-inspired schools

Turkey’s Erdogan and July 15 coup

Will the AKP lose votes in disagreement with Gülen movement?

40-day-old baby, mother under police custody for 4 days: opposition deputy

Copyright 2022 Hizmet News