October 22, 2016

Political thunder from Turkey rumbles all the way to New Orleans

Orissa Arend and Gültekin Göllü

Even with a presidential candidate ignorantly spewing anti-Muslim diatribes and vowing to ban migrants — even tourists — native to parts of the Near East, grim recent developments in Turkey can seem at a far remove from New Orleans.

They aren’t.

October 21, 2016

Turkey should compensate abused Nigerian students

The recent unjustified arrest, detention, traumatization and subsequent release of 50 Nigerian students in Turkey by that country’s government must rank as a most unfortunate low in the Nigerian - Turkish relations. Seen in context, it constitutes an instance of unjustified victimization of innocent foreigners, out of misplaced grudge by a government that had no cause for such act of indiscretion. These students had proceeded to Turkey for further studies, and were caught up in the aftermath of the July 15, 2016 attempted coup d’etat in that country, which nearly toppled the administration of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

October 20, 2016

Police insult former Zaman columnist for not supporting President Erdoğan

A police officer told former Zaman daily columnist Ali Bulaç, who has been in Silivri Prison since July 28 on coup charges, that he will suffer even more in prison as he did not support President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as pro-government columnists did, an opposition deputy said on Wednesday.

October 19, 2016

Rights watchdogs, press groups urge Turkey to end emergency abuses

Global human rights organizations as well as press freedom associations have urged the Turkish government to end its abuses against perceived critics committed under emergency rule.

October 18, 2016

Why Gulen Should Not Be Extradited

Roman Nikolaev*

It was the Gulen-inspired school that made me realize that many of world's problems stem from lack of dialogue and from the desire to hide behind the veil of nationality, religion, ethnicity, explains Roman Nikolaev.

Gulen-Linked Turkish Schools In Kazakhstan Being Renamed

Turkish-Kazakh schools across Kazakhstan are being renamed amid a campaign by Turkey against the exiled Turkish Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen.

October 17, 2016

Erdoğan again vows to revoke citizenship of Gülen movement sympathizers

Reiterating his threats against sympathizers of the grassroots Gülen movement who are fleeing the oppression in Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said they can become citizens of countries to which they flee while once again vowing to revoke their citizenship.

Alleged Gülen sympathizers in Silivri Prison banned from communication with outside world

The İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office has prohibited individuals in Silivri Prison who are currently under arrest over their alleged links to the faith-based Gülen movement from communicating with the outside world during an ongoing state of emergency, the Sözcü daily reported on Monday.

Imprisoned Gülen followers subject to rape, nail extraction, object insertion: lawyers association

People imprisoned as part of a government crackdown on the Gülen movement are being systematically tortured in the most barbaric ways including rape, removal of nails and the insertion of objects into their anuses, according to the president of a leading lawyers association.

October 16, 2016

Turkey pushes for extradition of US-based cleric who it says directed failed coup

Serdar Kilic has one of the hardest jobs in Washington.

Deportation of Nigerian students from Turkey

Diplomatic relations between Nigeria and Turkey may be strained over the ongoing harassment and deportation of some Nigerian students from Instanbul by the Turkish authorities. One of the students deported to Nigeria last week, Rukkaya Usman, a final year Political Science student at the University of Melikseh, said the Turkish government did not give a reason for the action. Usman, who arrived in Turkey to resume her studies on September 26 was held for ten hours and placed on a flight back to Nigeria.

October 15, 2016

It just gets worse in Turkey

Globe Editorial

Which came first? The abortive military coup d’état in Turkey on July 15, or the beginnings of the Turkish government’s crackdown on the followers of Fethullah Gülen? Was there any alliance between the group in the military that attempted a coup, who may have been secularists, and the religious Gülenists?

Turkish intelligence abducts Gülen-linked expats in Malaysia: relatives

With the government praising Malaysia over its alleged deportation of three Turkish citizens due to their links to the Gülen movement, recent tips from relatives stated that they were in fact abducted by Turkish intelligence officers.

October 14, 2016

Human rights associations up in arms over deputy’s remarks on torture allegations

In an open letter to the Turkish Parliament, six Turkey-based human rights associations on Thursday criticized recent remarks of ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy Mehmet Metiner, who said the government would ignore allegations of torture and mistreatment if victims were sympathizers of the Gülen movement.

Muslims, Jews break fast after Yom Kippur

Even before Mustafa Safak arrived at Temple Chai on Wednesday for closing Yom Kippur services, the San Antonio Muslim read up on the traditions associated with the Jewish holiday.

October 13, 2016

Democracy throttled

Anwar Alam*

The July 14-15, 2016, failed military coup in Turkey, among others, has accelerated and strengthened the pace of authoritarianism of the Erdogan regime — notwithstanding the democratic aspiration reflected in the people’s resistance against the coup — a process that was set in motion in the aftermath of December 2013 corruption exposure against the regime. Informally called Rais, today Turkey is transformed into a one-man rule. How does one explain the relapsing of Turkey into an increasing authoritarian polity under the very party (AKP) and the regime, which is credited with bringing in a model of ‘Muslim Democracy’ combining Islam, secularism, democracy and economic success between 2002 and 2011? What makes Erdogan to remain highly popular and undisputed leader of Turkey despite undermining its own democratic heritage? What are the implications of a growing Turkish authoritarianism for the stability of the region and the defeat of ISIS?

The next phase in Turkey’s political violence – third and coming coup could be the most violent

Michael Rubin

It has now been almost three months since the failed coup in Turkey. The events of July 15 were predictable, but they nevertheless mark a watershed in modern Turkish history. Still, it would be a mistake to view the coup as a single event. Turkey actually experienced two coups, but it will be the third and coming coup which could be the most violent and might very well cost Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan his life.

October 12, 2016

Escape from Turkey’s parallel reality

Sevgi Akarcesme*

As I stood in the passport line at the airport in Istanbul on the night of March 6, ready to leave Turkey for an indefinite period of time, I couldn’t help but remember the nerve-wracking scene in the movie Argo in which six American consular officials went through the airport in Tehran to escape Iran after the 1979 revolution.

October 11, 2016

Erdogan’s war on talent and future of Turkish state

Abdullah Ayasun*

“100,000 people have been fired from their jobs in Turkey. Turkey is not a safe country. There is a lot of turmoil there,” said a note that was taken from a Turkish doctor by the police.

October 10, 2016

Gov’t seizes 5,401 title deeds of Gülen-linked properties

The Turkish government has seized the title deeds of a total of 5,401 properties that have links to the faith-based Gülen movement as part of its ongoing witch-hunt against the movement, according to Turkey’s General Directorate of Land Registry and Cadaster, the Hürriyet daily reported on Sunday.

October 9, 2016

Gulen: You can’t achieve democracy through military coup

A prominent Islamic scholar, Fethullah Gülen, has said that no country can achieve democracy through military interventions. He spoke in reaction to another coup attempt in Turkey, saying he was a victim of four military coups in the past.

For Turkish exiles in NH: No way back

A Turkish family of four has settled in New Hampshire, fleeing a crackdown in their homeland that has led to the arrests of thousands of civil servants.

October 8, 2016

Pro-government paper claims with photoshopped image that Gülen has Vatican passport

In one more of a series of fabricated reports, the pro-government Takvim newspaper ran a lead story on Saturday claiming that Muslim scholar Fethullah Gülen holds a passport from the Vatican since he receives instructions from the Catholic Church.

Turkish gov’t takes in $5 bln in confiscation of Gülen-linked properties, minister says

The value of immovable properties including dormitories, real estate and schools that the government has confiscated as part of its clampdown on the Gülen movement totals around TL 15 billion ($4.9 billion), according to Environment and Urban Planning Minister Mehmet Özhaseki.

HRW: Turkish gov’t making use of emergency rules to silence critical media

Fears that the Turkish government would capitalize on a state of emergency to silence critics who have nothing to do with a July 15 coup attempt have come true, Emma Sinclair-Webb, Turkey director of the US-based non-profit Human Rights Watch (HRW), has said.

October 7, 2016

Turkey’s crackdown on dissent has gone too far

Financial Times Editorial Board

It should come as no surprise that Turkey’s president has chosen to extend a state of emergency by three months with the threat of doing so indefinitely. For a man as wilful and authoritarian as Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the chance to sidestep institutions, notably the constitutional court, was always going to have formidable appeal.

Nigerian students lament harassment, detention by Turkish authorities

Some Nigerians studying in Turkey have pleaded with the Nigerian government to intervene and halt the continued arrest and detention of their colleagues in the wake of the July failed coup in that country.

October 6, 2016

Why Is Turkey Targeting Hizmet?

Thomas Michel*

Much of the world was shaken this past July by the attempted coup d’état by certain members of the Turkish armed forces. The coup, ineptly planned and carried out, was put down within twenty-four hours at the cost of about three hundred lives. The coup attempt was universally condemned by Turkish political, business, and religious leaders, and Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who barely escaped capture or possible assassination, was acclaimed a national hero.

Twitter shouldn’t let itself become a tool for tyrants

The Washington Post Editorial Board

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey has announced a three-month extension of the state of emergency imposed after a failed July 15 coup attempt, giving him broad powers to rule by decree. He has launched a massive crackdown against followers of the self-exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Mr. Erdogan accuses of instigating the attempted overthrow. Mr. Gulen denies it. More than 30,000 Turkish citizens have been arrested and upward of 100,000 people accused, many without due process. On Tuesday, authorities announced that 12,800 police officers had been suspended on suspicion of being part of Mr. Gulen’s network.

Report: Turkey Mulling Attack On U.S.-Based Cleric

Mahir Zeynalov

Turkish security services have reportedly been planning an attack on U.S.-based preacher Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish cleric suspected of masterminding the July 15 coup plot, a number of sources confirmed.

Turkey deports Yemeni students from banned Universities affiliated with Gulen’s movement

Turkish authorities have deported 5 Yemeni students at official universities which the authorities have recently shut down for links with US-based Muslim cleric, Fethullah Gulen whom the government accused of having a hand behind failed coup attempt against president Erdogan on July 15. Sources told Al-Masdasronline on Wednesday.

October 5, 2016

Fethullah Gulen’s Message regarding Rumors Circulated in Turkish Media about a Second Coup Attempt

Once again, the Turkish media, under government control or government pressure, is circulating horrific rumors, this time about a supposed second coup attempt in the works, supposedly prepared by my sympathizers with the backing of the United States.

Nigeria demands Turkey's apology over 'unjustifiable' students deportation in coup crackdown

Nigerian lawmakers have urged the Turkish government to apologise for arresting and deporting dozens of Nigerian students. The incident occurred earlier in October, when at least 50 students had their passports confiscated upon arrival at the Ataturk International Airport, in Istanbul. They were subsequently sent back to Nigeria.

October 4, 2016

Diplomatic Row over Gulen Influence in Africa

Michelle DeFreese*

Fethullah Gulen, the US-based scholar and intellectual originally from Turkey, is credited with founding a global and controversial school of thought known as the Gulenist or Hizmet Movement. Over the past decade, the numbers of supporters and institutions inspired by the movement have grown significantly and spread throughout the world. Though estimates vary, sources suggest that between 3 to 5 million supporters adhere to the movement’s modernist and transnational philosophy. In Africa in particular, Gulenist schools have proliferated as the movement has taken on a global focus.

Turkish official says 252 companies seized over Gülen links

Government-run Savings Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF) President Şakir Ercan Gül announced on Tuesday that the government has seized a total of 252 companies in Turkey.

October 3, 2016

Erdogan's critics in Germany living in fear of his long arm

When Ercan Karakoyun goes to a restaurant in Kreuzberg or Neukölln, Berlin's boroughs with a large migrant population, he never sits with his back to the door. When he leaves, he looks left and right before exiting, to make sure no one is waiting for him. He also stopped visiting Turkish mosques, fearing an attack. This is the new reality of life for critics of the Turkish government, he says, even in the German capital.

Gulen’s interview with Die Zeit: «Perhaps the Almighty punishes us today»

Fethullah Gülen, one of the sworn enemies of the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, demands in an interview with Die Zeit sanctions against Turkey.

Nigerian federal gov't on arrested students: Turkey on a vendetta mission

The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Sola Enikanolaye, has said that the Nigerian students who were arrested in Turkey for an alleged role in the July coup attempt in Turkey may have been paying for the refusal of the Nigerian government to shut down some Turkish schools and institutions in Nigeria.

October 2, 2016

Turkish court: There is no FETÖ terror organization

The 2nd Criminal Court of the southern province of Hatay has rejected an indictment on the Fethullah Gülen Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), a term used by the Turkish government to describe the Gülen movement, saying that there is no such terrorist organization officially identified.

AKP official: Torture claims won’t be investigated if victims are Gülenists

A Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy has said there will be no investigations into claims of torture and mistreatment of people put into prison after a July 15 coup attempt if those victims are sympathizers of Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen.

Islamabad High Court: No plan to close Pak-Turk schools

The government is not going to shut down Pak-Turk schools nor it has received any request from the Turkish government for the transfer of its management to any third party.

Drooling over everything Turkish

Considering the significance of communication in the foundation of friendship, a Turkish community stage a cultural night to create a platform in reaching out as many Filipinos through undertaking a one-night event.

Turkish government has declared war on us, Nigerian student cries out from hiding

Nigerian students in Turkey are in hiding following the government’s crackdown on them.

October 1, 2016

I came to Nigeria with just a piece of luggage –Turkish International Colleges foundation coordinator

When Behlul Basaran arrived Nigeria in 2000 from Turkey, he was armed with a single piece of luggage, an enthusiastic spirit and hope. Inside his luggage was his letter of scholarship for a university education from the Hizmet Movement, which had started building a relationship and foundation for quality education with Nigeria. It was a lone chance into a life of relevance, his only ticket to change his life.

Turkey’s Gulen crackdown hits Canada

A crackdown on Gulen followers in Turkey has spilled into Canada, creating a deep divide in the Turkish community in this country.

Turkish Government Detains 50 Nigerian Students in Istanbul

Over 50 Nigerian students were yesterday arrested in Turkey, allegedly on the orders of the government, Thisday has reliably gathered. A source whose relative was among the detained students stated that “upon arrival at Ataturk International Airport in Istanbul, they were all escorted to a room and their passport confiscated by Turkish police.”

September 30, 2016

US prosecutor denies any links to Gülen, says never set foot in Turkey

Responding to allegations from Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who accused US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara of being a sympathizer of the faith-based Gülen movement, Bharara said he has just learned Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen’s name from Google and has never been to Turkey.

September 29, 2016

Cleric Gulen says certain Erdogan behind failed Turkey coup

U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Turkish authorities accuse of orchestrating a failed coup in July, told a German newspaper that he was sure President Tayyip Erdogan was behind the putsch.

Turkey confiscates more than 200 companies in operations targeting Gülen

The government-run Savings Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF) has taken over more than 200 companies as part of investigations into the Gülen movement in the recent past.

Is Erdogan right to worry about the Gulen movement?

When a coup failed in Turkey in July, the country's president wasted no time in blaming followers of Fethullah Gulen. Ercan Karakoyun, the director of the Gulen movement in Germany, is Conflict Zone's guest this week.

September 28, 2016

Turkey After the July Coup Attempt

On Wednesday, September 14, 2016, Center for American Progress Senior Fellow Alan Makovsky testified before a hearing of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats on the subject of “Turkey After the July Coup Attempt.” An adapted version of his oral testimony is below. His written testimony is available here.

Battle For Soul Of Turkey: U.S. Justice System Takes Precedence

The U.S. Department of Justice, the American justice system and the judicial proceedings in Washington has maintained the position of the law as provided in the constitution of the States, which has tightened the loose demands of President Recep Erdogan to bring to him dead or alive the body of the Islamic scholar, Fethulah Gulen at the 1, 000 room home of the president in Turkey.

The Turkish Connection: Pak-Turk Schools

We have not violated any law, nor do we work on a political agenda,” says Engin Yigit, Director, Public Relations, at PakTurk International Schools and Colleges. Leading me to his office on the first floor of the school’s Islamabad campus, he looks relaxed and shows no signs of strain.

'They think we are terrorists, they think we are evil'

The streets of Istanbul are a far cry from Croydon.

But a crackdown on one Turkish community following the failed military coup in the country earlier this year has had devastating consequences in south London, according to a group of expats.

September 27, 2016

Is the Purge Against Gülen Movement Creating Further Radical Islamization?

Ebubekir Isik*

Turkey has been cut up over the last three years by the restless controversy between the globally active Gülen movement and the pro-Islamic Justice and Development Party (AKP) that is in power for over a decade. Both foreign and local audiences have been overwhelmed by the intensity of the dispute, which peaked during the last couple of weeks particularly in the aftermath of the recent coup attempt.