May 25, 2016

Trustees appointed to 28 institutions including mostly schools in Şanlıurfa

A local court in the southeastern Şanlıurfa province has appointed trustees to take over the management of 28 institutions, including mostly primary schools and high schools, in yet another government-led move targeting the Gülen movement, a grassroots initiative comprising people inspired by Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen’s teachings.

Trustees were appointed to four primary schools, five high schools, a private hospital, nine dormitories, six preparation schools and three other institutions on Wednesday.

Appointments followed an investigation that was launched into the institutions by Şanlıurfa Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office on suspicion that they provide financial support to the so-called “Fethullahist Terrorist Organization/Parallel State Structure (FETÖ/PDY),” which is used by the government-backed judiciary to frame sympathizers of the Gülen movement.

“Parallel state” is a term coined by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in December 2013 to refer to people believed to be inspired by the ideas of Gülen, especially those within the state bureaucracy.

Since a corruption investigation that implicated figures close to the government, as well as government members themselves, came to public attention on Dec. 17, 2013, then-prime minister and current President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has accused the Gülen movement of plotting to overthrow his government. He said sympathizers of the movement within the police department had fabricated the graft scandal. Since then, hundreds of police officers have been detained and some arrested for alleged illegal activity during the course of the investigation. Erdoğan said he would carry out a “witch hunt” against anyone with links to the movement.

The Gülen movement strongly rejects the allegations brought against it. There is not a court decision which declares the movement as a terrorist group either.

Published on Turkish Minute, 25 May 2016, Wednesday