London, 17 July, 2016 – An attempted coup took place in Turkey on Saturday, 15th July. Within a few hours and while the coup was still underway, the Turkish government declared Fethullah Gulen and the Hizmet movement to be behind the coup. As per previous allegations, this was done without offering any evidence whatsoever to connect the coup plotters to Gulen or the Hizmet movement. Early developments since the failed coup demonstrate that the Turkish government is using this treacherous attack as a means to extend its witch-hunt, purging state and society of all oppositional groups and people, including those not completely subservient to the President. In this context, Hizmet has become the Turkish government’s convenient and ‘default scapegoat’ for any wrongdoing in Turkey.
Within a few hours of the coup, leading Hizmet-inspired organizations, including the Alliance for Shared Values, the Journalists and Writers Foundation and Fethullah Gulen issued statements condemning the coup in the most unequivocal of terms. In his personal statement, Gulen added “as someone who suffered under multiple military coups during the past five decades, it is especially insulting to be accused of having any link to such an attempt. I categorically deny such accusations.” The London-based Dialogue Society also issued a statement condemning the coup.
In a further press meeting with several international media outlets, Gulen said that he condemned any form of military intervention, that no good could come out of these, that he has always supported democracy, even at the expense of being excommunicated by religious fanatics, and that he had nothing to do with this latest coup attempt in Turkey. He added however, “I am happy for an international body to investigate this incident and to determine whether or not I, or anyone in the Hizmet movement, was involved. I will accept their findings outright, whatever it may be.” See here for the full interview.
Furthermore, the Centre for Hizmet Studies has seen evidence of systematic attack on Hizmet affiliated individuals, organisations and sympathisers in Europe. These attacks include verbal and physical assaults, hate mail, threats via text messages, defamatory mailshots to Muslim email groups, profiling and boycott calls on a list of Hizmet sympathising businesses in Europe. The systematic overspill of Turkey’s troubles to overseas cities is particularly worrying. Not only is it further polarising Turkish-speaking communities abroad but it has the making of further troubles and unrest.
Notes to editors
Founded in 2014, the Centre for Hizmet Studies is a London-based non-profit organisation that provides information, research, analysis and critique on Hizmet, a civil society grass roots movement originating out of Turkey but now active in over 160 countries worldwide through education, dialogue, relief work and media.
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