December 18, 2015

Bringing Erdoğan’s witch hunt to the US

Emre Uslu

On Dec. 11 I penned a column sharing my general view about a lawsuit in Pennsylvania filed against Fethullah Gülen.

In that article I argued the lawsuit filed by attorney Robert Amsterdam to defend members of the Tahşiyeciler network (roughly translated as “Annotators”), a radical Islamist group with suspected ties to al-Qaeda that had faced police operations in 2010 in Turkey and have now became a tool in Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's witch hunt against the Gülen movement, would only help Gülen when the jury sees Tahşiyeciler leader Mehmet Doğan's praises of Osama bin Laden, his books and his broadcasted statements and Erdoğan's disclosed support for Doğan.

As you can see, I did not discuss the details of Amsterdam's nonsensical accusations. Amsterdam wants to bring Erdoğan's witch hunt against his rivals to the American judicial system using Turkish taxpayers' money.

I don't want to put myself in the middle of Erdoğan's muddy fight, which was brought into the US by Amsterdam, but the attorney, instead of explaining Doğan's support of al-Qaeda leader bin Laden, his sermons and his books, twisted my arguments to use them against me.

In his response, Amsterdam states: “Uslu's approach to the very serious accusations facing Fethullah Gülen is emblematic of the culture of deception that characterizes the network as a whole -- that is to say that they are failing to deal with the substance of the accusations at all, and instead focused on defaming the plaintiffs with manufactured falsehoods with the implied message that Gülen should enjoy impunity so long as his victims are seen as enemies.

“The column, which purports to ‘celebrate' the lawsuit as some sort of ‘good news,' provides no explanation, no clarity, and no argument regarding Gülen's alleged role in orchestrating these false trials and the associated violations of human rights.”

I had no intention in my first piece nor in this piece of defending Gülen and his network. However, as someone who follows terrorist networks in Turkey, I have some familiarity with al-Qaeda networks and Turkish security organizations. I will share my expert analysis on the pro-al-Qaeda Tahşiyeciler group.

Amsterdam's clients, who are members of the Tahşiyeciler network, first faced criticisms of being followers of bin Laden not in 2009 but in 2003. The first person who claimed Doğan and his Tahşiyeciler network were followers of bin Laden, supporting his violent jihadist ideology, was in fact Abdülkadir Badıllı, a permanent figure in the Nur movement, a staunch opponent of the Gülen movement and an ardent supporter of the Justice and Development Party (AKP).

Badıllı wrote a book in 2003 called “İfhamname” against Doğan's distortions of Bediuzzaman Said Nursi's books that supported bin Laden and al-Qaeda's violent jihadist ideology.

The following are some examples from Badıllı's book:

1) According to Badıllı, Doğan accepts the al-Qaeda movement as a true jihadist movement and presents bin Laden as a leading power. In fact, Doğan goes back and finds previous occurrences to boost and promote legends about bin Laden and depict the jihad he leads as being a right and true one.

2) Doğan's message in the three books published by the Tahşiyeciler organization is the same: “Right now there is a guerilla war unfolding, and the leader of this struggle against America is the power Osama Bin Laden, who is the forerunner of the prophet to come. This Osama will soon become even stronger, and will overcome America in the Middle East, and will then go to Palestine and form an Islamic state. Later, he will turn over the leadership of this state to the Mehdi [Messiah]. And after that, the Mehdi will create an Islamic reign alongside Prophet Jesus, throughout the world.”

3) In his book “Esrarname,” Doğan inserts a hadith on page 14, basically interpreting it partially in order to connect it to the US invasion of Afghanistan and American general Richard Myers who announced the beginning of US military operations in Afghanistan in 2001.

4) Again, in “Esrarname,” Doğan interprets a hadith included on page 16 as: “A flag will arise from Masrikt, and the person hoisting this flag will be Suayb Bun Salih from the Temim tribe.” Doğan applies this to bin Laden and asserts that in fact, the Temim tribe lives in Yemen.

5) Doğan interprets yet another hadith to find support for bin Laden: “During Ramadan, there will be a loud voice, and screams during the war in Shawwal, and warring also among the tribes in Zilka. What this foretells is a great war in Mina, will blood running, and this blood will run as far as jamarat [where Satan is stoned]. The man of the Muslims will run from the warlord and then, people will obey him somewhere between Rukun and the Kaaba.”

Here is how Doğan interprets this hadith: The “loud voice” heard during Ramadan is the sound of television and radio. He goes on to interpret this hadith as talking about the war in Afghanistan.

6) Doğan skews the words of the leader of the peaceful Nur movement, Said Nursi, for the sake of bin Laden. According to Badıllı: “I heard once long ago from a wise man that a leader would rise from the East...” While Said Nursi interprets this to mean Risale-i Nur, Doğan says this is in fact bin Laden because he believes bin Laden is instrumental in the struggle in Afghanistan.

7) Doğan also sees the “Ashab al-Kahf” example in hadiths about the people who are to assist the Mehdi as depicting bin Laden hiding in the caves of Afghanistan to fight in the guerrilla war unfolding there.

8) Badıllı gives another example: the mention of Babylon and a whore that is made in a hadith is used as a comparison to America and Washington.

In fact you don't need to read what Badıllı wrote when any reasonable person who reads what Doğan wrote about bin Laden, his al-Qaeda network and his jihadi views can see he is at least an al-Qaeda preacher, which requires law enforcement agencies to monitor the network.

Badıllı's writings show that Doğan and his Tahşiyeciler network supporting bin Laden and al-Qaeda's jihadi terrorism were a source of concern back in 2003 at least.

Gülen, on the other hand, allegedly pointed out the violent nature of Tahşiyeciler in 2009. In fact, if you read Gülen's statement, there isn't even a direct reference to the Tahşiyeciler network.

If Amsterdam is accusing Gülen of defaming Doğan and his clients, Tahşiyeciler members, he should first look to AKP supporter Badıllı.

Furthermore, there are official intelligence reports leaked to the media showing the National Intelligence Organization (MİT), the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) and the police were closely monitoring Tahşiyeciler as al-Qaeda affiliates.

It seems Amsterdam was not aware of the fact that his client Doğan and his followers, members of Tahşiye network, are in fact al-Qaeda supporters. Because he was hired by the Turkish government to bring Erdoğan's witch hunt to the US, he took on the case but he now has to explain Doğan's open support for al-Qaeda and its leader bin Laden in front of a jury.

That is why, instead of answering the substance of the case, Amsterdam is intentionally trying to divert attention to alleged corruption by the Gülen movement.

Once they read what Doğan wrote about al-Qaeda and bin Laden, any terrorism expert or law enforcement personnel from either the FBI or the CIA would easily testify that his ideas are clear-cut support for bin Laden and al-Qaeda.

I wish Amsterdam would request expert testimony from the FBI to determine whether Doğan's writings explicitly support al-Qaeda and its leader Bin Laden…

Published on Today's Zaman, 18 December 2015, Friday