Is Turkey Turning into a Mafia State?
Evidence from Sudan, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Georgia, Myanmar, Malaysia, Kosovo, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, and Mongolia Day by day, Erdogan and his oppressive government are extending their long arms to different countries around the world via the government institutions, intelligence agencies, and affiliated NGOs to expand their witch hunt against the Gulen Movement (aka Hizmet, which means Service in English)-affiliated people. Among their unlawful activities away from Turkey are intensified spying, intelligence gathering and profiling of critics that at times has led to harassment, intimidation and hate crimes. Although a majority of the countries do not pay attention to the unlawful requests of this oppressive leadership, there are some developing countries feel obligated to cooperate with Turkish agencies as they violate significant human rights, fundamental freedoms, and customary international laws.
To name a few, some officers within Sudan, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Georgia, Myanmar, Malaysia, Kosovo, Azerbaijan, and Ukraine did not hesitate to operate the abductions and deportations of Gulen Movement-affiliated teachers, businessmen, journalists, academicians, and doctors, as well as their family members in some cases. These countries not only violated the UNHCR protection but also international human rights laws and customary international laws. The details of these unlawful abductions and deportations were revealed in a brief report recently released by the Advocates of Silenced Turkey (AST). According to the Human Rights Watch, US Report of Religious Freedom, Amnesty International and several international human rights agencies, alleged supporters of the Gulen Movement in Turkey have been subjected to property seizures, arrests, detainments, imprisonments, as well as tortures such as use of stress positions, denial of food and water, detention in unsanitary conditions, in addition to beatings and rapes.
Gulen Movement is a global volunteer movement that focuses on science education, volunteerism, community involvement, social work and interfaith and intercultural dialogue. Graham Fuller, an expert of the region and vice chair of CIA Intelligence Council, wrote an expert opinion just after the coup attempt entitled “The Gulen Movement Is Not a Cult – It’s One of the Most Encouraging Faces of Islam Today”.
The President of Turkey, Erdogan, falsely accused the movement of masterminding the coup d’état attempt on July 15th, 2016 and declared the movement as an armed terrorist organization, so-called Fetullahist Terrorist Organization – FETO. Following the staged coup attempt, a significant purge was initiated by the Turkish government and more than 170.000 people were persecuted without any concrete evidence.
However, Erdogan was not satisfied with purging the supporters of Gulen movement in Turkey and expanded its witch hunt against critics to numerous countries in the world with unlawful ways such as bribery, threats, and economic oppressions. Turkish embassies and government agencies including the intelligence services and nongovernmental organizations affiliated with the Islamist-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP) government have been involved in the profiling and harassment of the movement’s members in varying degree, scope and intensity.
This persecution abroad is personally approved by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who stated that no country in the world will be safe for members of the Gulen Movement, claimed they do not have the right to life and vowed to pursue them wherever they are. His propagandists have even suggested assassinating and abducting critics abroad and have put a bounty on their heads.
The report of AST not only covers the unlawful abductions and deportations but also remind foreign security officers the risks Gulen Movement-affiliated people may face, offer recommendations and point out important points that countries should pay attention to resist possible attempts of the Turkish Government. They request that governments take necessary legal, administrative and practical measures are to ensure the protection of individuals who might be at risk and subject to possible abduction, enforced disappearance, and extrajudicial killings. They make a call on to take counter-measures including legal and other steps to prevent such blatant interference by the Turkish government in their country’s internal affairs and to protect their residents and asylum-seekers from the long arm of Erdogan.
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