A 28-year-old man of Turkish origin has been handed down a prison sentence of eight months and a fine of 23,000 euros by a French court after he attacked several institutions affiliated with the faith-based Gülen movement in the country.
The Turkish government blames Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen and his supporters for a failed coup on July 15, a charge denied by Gülen.
The man identified only by his initial as M.Y. was arrested on Aug.3 by the French police after he attacked the Gülen-affiliated Horizon Culture Center in northeastern France with a hammer in his hand.
M.Y. was kept under pre-trial detention until Sept. 9 when he appeared in a court.
M.Y. admitted to have taken part in six other attacks against Gülen-affiliated education and culture centers in France.
When the judge asked M.Y. why he was involved in violence against these institutions, he said several people came to a mosque linked to the Turkish–Islamic Union for Religious Affairs, usually referred to as DİTİB, and threatened him there.
In return, the judge asked why he attacked the education centers if some people had threatened him.
The court decided to hand down a prison sentence of eight months to M.Y. He will spend the first four months in prison while he will be released on probation for the second four months. M.Y. will be kept behind bars for three months because he already served the first month since his detention on Aug.3.
M.Y. also received a fine of 23,000 euros as a compensation for the material damage he caused at the education and culture centers. M.Y. has also been banned from approaching the surroundings of the education and culture centers for a period of two years.
In a similar development in France, another man of Turkish origin, identified by his initials as O.K., has been briefly detained for making a death threat to a member of the education center in Mulhouse, identified by his initials as M.K.
O.K. reportedly sent a text message to M.K. which allegedly said: “Those who kill you will be awarded both by the state and God.”
O.K. denied having sent the text message to M.K. and claimed that somebody else took her mobile phone away while he was sitting at a cafeteria and sent the message without his knowledge.
O.K. has been released pending trial after he spent three days in jail. He will appear before a court on Dec. 8.
Recently, two men of Turkish origin have also been detained in Netherlands on suspicion of death threats and hate speech made against Erdoğan critics in the Netherlands.
In a statement last Monday Dutch police said they had investigated 150 complaints related to the aftermath of Turkey’s coup since mid-July, roughly half of them for threats and intimidation appearing on social media.
Turkey’s post-coup fallout has spilled over into Turkish immigrant neighborhoods in Europe with lists of purported Gülen supporters circulating on social media, exposing families and schoolchildren to death threats.
Published on Turkish Minute, 10 September 2016, Saturday