February 28, 2017

Re: The many lies (?) of Cemal Yigit

Clement Iloh*

An article in one of the na­tion’s dailies, The Many Lies Of Cemal Yigit, which centred on the ugly events in Turkey and the seeming chill­ing hangover on Turkish interest in Nigeria, recently caught my at­tention. I was further attracted to the write-up not only on the need to update myself of Presi­dent Recep Tayyip Erdogan new moves to acquire more dictatori­al powers through executive pres­idency but to also satisfy my curi­osity on the reason for the recent change of name of Nigerian Turkish International College to Nige­rian Tulip International College.

But no sooner I had fully set­tled down to digest the suppos­edly compelling piece to fur­ther enrich my knowledge on the burning issues, that I discov­ered that the write-up, which was purportedly written by one Ka­buga in a reaction to an earlier piece by Cemal Yigit, was one of the hatchet jobs calculated to de­monize supporters of Hizmet or Gulen Movement and at the same time ‘canonize’ President Erdogan for his nauseating au­thoritarian posture and macabre dance on democracy.

While I am not in any way holding brief for Turkish busi­nessmen in Nigeria who the Turkish government is said to be doing every possible to frus­trate out of the country for their supposedly sympathy to Hizmet Movement, that is inspired by US-based Turkish cleric, Fethul­lah Gulen, it is crystal clear that by the jaundiced and kindergar­ten diagnosis of the issues dis­played in the write-up, that Ka­buga is either suffering from selective amnesia or was blinded by his desire to get some crumbs from the appendage of Turkish authorities in Nigeria.

What Kabuga and his spon­sors fail to realize is that support­ers and members of Gulen Move­ment are known world-wide for their humanitarian activities and promotion of peace among var­ious religious groups. It is only shallow-minded Kabuga and his ilk who will believe that Nigeria or any other countries will take serious, any allegation against the Movement by power-drunk Pres­ident Erdogan.

It is clear that the new antic of Erdogan led Turkish government is to establish Maarif Foundation to counter the influence of Gu­len Movement in Nigeria. There are already issues regarding the Islamic fundamentalism pos­ture of Maarif Foundation and its perceived sympathy to radical groups such as the Islamic State (ISIS).

On the other hand, Hizmet Movement has established a number of successful schools, state-of-the-art hospitals, peace-promoting centres, charity or­ganisations, and has in the pro­cess built strong relations with local business, religious (Chris­tian and Muslim) leaders and political elites in Africa. It has employed thousands of Nigeri­ans in various organisations and consequently became the face of a civilised Turkey in Nigeria and the entire continent.

Envious of the success story of Hizmet Movement and his fast dwindling approval rating at both home and abroad, President Er­dogan and his ruling AK Party, are now using the July 2016 failed coup as smokescreen to subju­gate or if possible, uproot Hiz­ment not only in Turkey but par­ticularly from Nigeria and other Sub-Sahara African countries.

The coup, which the Turkish government blamed squarely on Fethullah Gulen and his support­ers, has led to a large-scale purge of officials with suspected affilia­tion with the Hizmet Movement, and Erdogan has not ceased to exert pressure on various coun­tries to sever ties with the Move­ment. But Nigeria and other countries will not allowed them­selves to be fooled or cowed by Erdogan as the Turkish govern­ment has not showed any reason­able evidence that link the coup to Hizmet or Gulen supporters.

*Iloh, a public affairs analyst and right activist, wrote in from Abuja

Published on The Authority, 28 February 2017, Tuesday