February 23, 2017

The Turkish invasion of Nigeria

Joshua Ocheja*

This is a rather sad topic for me. But it is a necessary one in light of the recent happenings in Turkey and all around the world.

I know some reading might be wondering why I am writing on this topic. Well, it is because this piece aims to objectify the face behind the gang of spies sent by the Turkish government to profile Hizmet movement participants in Nigeria. I am not going to mince words. I am not going to be soft.

This is because we cannot continue to have a situation where the Turkish Embassy would continue to insult our intelligence as a people.

It started sometime last year when the Turkish Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Hakan Cakir made a request for the closure of Turkish schools and institutions in Nigeria.

From there, it extended to the massive deportation of Nigeria students in Turkey. It didn’t end there; Mohammed Abdullahi and Hassan Danjuma Adamu were detained by security agencies in Turkey for three months for no justifiable reason other than that they were found in the hostel of one of the closed universities in Turkey, Fathi University, of which they were students.

There was another request from the Turkish authorities, which was the transfer of Turkish schools to a newly established foundation called Maarif foundation, which for all intent and purposes would indeed be used to spread the wahhabi ideology because funding for its activities is from Saudi Arabia.

It is also understood that it will be used an espionage agency for opponents of the Turkish president in Nigeria and all around the world. In Nigeria, even though the Maarif foundation request has been turned down, nonetheless, there a certain chap named Huseyin Oztunc who leads a gang of four Turkish secret service agents in Nigeria. What is their mission?

Stalk and profile members of the Hizmet movement in Nigeria, and possibly kidnap and deport them to Turkey to the waiting hands of President Erdogan. And this is for a fact. Something strange happened recently.

I was privileged to have attended an international conference on Love and Tolerance with the theme “Countering Extremism through Peace, Education and Love, organised by UFUK Dialogue Initiative, an NGO founded in 2011 in Nigeria with the mission to foster interfaith and inter-cultural dialogue, and peace all over the world by providing a common platform for education and information exchange.

The conference which was well attended by dignitaries from all walks of life included His Eminence, Cardinal John Onaiyekan, the Honourable Minister of Youths and Sports, Bar. Solomon Dalung, the Honourable Minister of State for Education, Prof. Anthony Onwuka, and many others from the diplomatic community, clergymen and women, students, military personnel and all other critical stakeholders.

This was a conference Huseyin Oztunc, and his gang decided to disrupt. What happened? They came earlier and surveyed the environment; they later planted moles in the audience to cause unnecessary chaos.

How did it play out? Huseyin Oztunc was seated in the hall with his gang, and when it was time for questions from the audience, a young Nigerian fellow was given the opportunity to speak.

When he grabbed the microphone, all hell was let loose. These were his exact words “the leader of UFUK Dialogue Fethullah Gulen is a terrorist.

They planned a coup in Turkey last year. UFUK Dialogue should not be preaching to us in Nigeria because they are terrorist” Immediately Huseyin Oztunc left the hall. For him, the mission was accomplished.

This was just one out of the numerous instances where Huseyin Oztunc and his marauding gang have continued to cause discomfort for participants of the Hizmet movement in Nigeria.

But luckily, the audience registered their displeasure with the unruly fellow, who spoke ignorantly and apparently out of inducement from Huseyin Oztunc and his gang.

They also visit schools and other investments belonging to participants of the Hizmet movement in Nigeria, take photographs, video record and stalk these people with so much impunity. But who is indeed Huseyin Oztunc? He is a Turkish citizen based in Abuja.

He is on the payroll of the Turkish Embassy; he claims to be the President of MUSAID, a supposedly Turkish NGO in Abuja.

But here is what he does; he operates a visa racketing syndicate at the Turkish Embassy.

He is the leader of the spy network detailed to profile Hizmet movement participants in Nigeria. And he is very notorious an individual. I am taking this pain to write because it is time for the relevant authorities in Nigeria to act; else we might wake up one day and see legitimate businesses that are contributing to the growth of Nigeria destroyed by the ongoing politics in Turkey.

In previous articles I have written, I have stated that Turkish politics should be left in Turkey because Nigeria is a sovereign nation.

The likes of Huseyin Oztunc and the Turkish Ambassador Hakan Cakil have taken us for a ride for too long.

Some days back, the Turkish ambassador granted an interview stating that Turkey has no reason to spy on Nigeria.

After reading the interview, I was sad, sad because that interview was nothing but a mockery of the Nigerian nation when it was indeed glaring that espionage activities are ongoing.

I can say this for a fact because I have friends who are Hizmet movement participants, I interact with them often and believe me, there is nothing untoward about the Hizmet movement.

For them, in their words and actions, what resonates is service to humanity. But their lives are endangered with the likes of Huseyin Oztunc lurking around them on a daily basis.

The Turkish ambassador is also an accomplice, if not the arrow head. Can Mr. Hakan Cakil tell us if participants of the Hizmet movement in Nigeria have been attended to at the Turkish embassy for registration of births?

Can he also say whether the Turkish embassy has refused to renew documents of Hizmet movement participants in Nigeria? This is the reality on the ground, and I stand to be quoted anywhere.

This impunity by the Turkish Ambassador and his cohorts has to stop. And the relevant agencies of government have to act. It is not enough to accuse a group of plotting a coup.

Where is the evidence linking this group to the coup? In Nigeria, I believe we play by the rules.

I am aware the authorities have asked that evidence is provided, but till date, none has surfaced. Instead, it has been blackmail, arm-twisting and different methodologies in ensuring that Hizmet movement participants are demonised and their businesses ruined.

In this case, I think Nigerians have to rise to the occasion and ensure that the persecution of Hizmet movement participants is halted without further delay. It is pertinent to state that Hizmet movement affiliated institutions in Nigeria have over 2000 Nigerians in their employ.

Are we saying we would be willing to let the likes of Huseyin Oztunc whose preoccupation in Nigeria is operating a furniture sales outlet and a visa racketing syndicate at the Turkish Embassy, destroy investments that have been putting smiles on the faces of Nigerians in the critical sectors of education and health? The answer is a huge no.

The likes of Huseyin Oztunc should be questioned by the security agencies because this is Nigeria and not Turkey.

* Ocheja is an expert on conflict studies and an alumnus of the Nigerian Defence Academy.

**Editor’s note: Hizmet Movement Blog reaffirms its non-endorsement policy of the various viewpoints expressed throughout the articles that are solely shared for the convenience of the readers.

Published on New Telegraph 23 February 2017, Thursday