Adıyaman Municipality has reportedly closed down three reading halls established to help educate the children of needy and poor families, using scores of police vehicles.
The reading halls were set up by the Sema Education Association (Sema-Der) established by Turkish schools affiliated with the Gülen movement, also known as the Hizmet movement, in cooperation with the Social Support Project (SODES). The reading halls had been the target of the municipality's negative propaganda but the court decided to stop the implementation of plans to shut down the reading halls, a move that was later hindered by the authorities. A similar case is being tried at the Gaziantep Administrative Court, and the reading halls have been closed by municipal police officers before a final court decision.
Similar events also occurred at İstanbul's Fatih Education and Culture House, Yunus Emre Education and Culture House in Yeşilyurt and Vefa Education and Culture House in Cumhuriyet. The municipal police officers reportedly used the assistance of a locksmith to open the doors and confiscated all the equipment of the reading halls in each case.
Mehmet Canpolat, a lawyer for Sema-Der, has called the developments an infringement on legal rights, as there been no court decision to shut down the reading halls. Sema-Der head Mustafa Tekin has said what happened to the association's reading halls is a continuation of the government's continuing pressure and crackdown on institutions affiliated with the Gülen movement. Tekin said that the association will use legal means to assert their rights.
Published on Today's Zaman, 20 February 2015, Friday