Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Special Issue on the Attempted Coup in Turkey

I am not a big fan of the Gulen (aka Hizmet) Movement. At worst the movement is a clandestine Islamist movement disguised as a moderate Muslim peaceful interfaith dialogue organization OR at best it is Islam’s version of a brainwashing Scientology-like cult.

Ari Bussel sent me this Gulen Movement perspective of the attempted coup in Turkey which President Recep Erdogan blamed the influential Gulen Movement in Turkey. Erdogan used the coup attempt to execute a Nazi-style purge of his enemy rivals which included thousands of Fethullah Gulen followers in Turkey.

Ari Bussel sent the Pacifica Institute version of the account without comment. Pacifica totally exonerates its fearless leader Fethullah Gulen who actually lives in an obscure compound in the USA in exile from Turkey. Indeed, Gulen has lived in the USA for quite some time operating as a stealth Islam interfaith advocate. I use the word “stealth” because I am more convinced Gulen’s moderation is more for show than actual, much like the numerous Muslim Brotherhood front groups in America such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

[I included the video description which are not a part of the email sent by Ari Bussel.]

JRH 7/26/16
Special Issue on the Attempted Coup in Turkey

Sent by Ari Bussel
Sent: 7/20/2016 7:39 PM

Pacifica Institute

Dear Friends,

Greetings from Pacifica Institute.

As many of you may already be aware, Turkey is going through a very difficult time nowadays. We are deeply concerned about the ongoing situation in the country and we, as Pacifica Institute, strongly condemn this attempted military coup. A coup of any sort defies the democratic process, and we stand opposed to such a hostile and violent attempt at toppling the democratically elected government in Turkey.

We would like to share the following information for those of you who might be interested in reviewing the developments as they took place. We sincerely hope that this issue is resolved quickly and in the best interest of Turkey and its citizens.

What happened?

  • On Friday night, a group of middle-ranking Turkish soldiers attempted a coup
  • Their focus was on Ankara and Istanbul, taking control of the Istanbul's bridges, airports, the Turkish parliament, and some police stations
  • Their attempted coup was ill-planned and badly executed
  • Their efforts were thwarted by the police aided by the huge public support
  • 161 people killed, including members of the coup; 1,500 wounded; 3,000 soldiers arrested
  • The government has blamed the attempted coup on the Gulen movement. Some government ministers have also blamed the US as being behind the coup. 

Who is behind this attempted coup?

  • We really do not know. It is too early to say.
  •  Erdogan is using the incident as a pretext to purge those associated with the Hizmet Movement from any position affiliated with the state, society and to further smear the Movement in general
  • For example, while it was reported that 47 military officers were involved in the coup, as of now, almost 3,000 officers, including tens of generals have been arrested. Furthermore, the Higher Board of Judges and Prosecutors sacked 2745 judges and prosecutors including ten of its own members. Already tens of appellate judiciary judges are detained by orders from the Ankara Prosecutor.
  • How did the government determine the culpability of 2745 judges overnight in a coup orchestrated by a fraction of the military? Clearly, these are people the government wanted to get rid of anyway and is using this opportunity to do so.

Has Gulen condemned the coup?

  • Absolutely and unequivocally
  • In the early hours of the coup, the Alliance for Shared Values, an organization that speaks on behalf of Gulen, condemned the coup attempt. This was followed by a personal statement by Gulen, and by leading Gulen inspired organizations condemning the coup without if's and but's. 
  • Gulen's condemnation was picked up by the world press, including the FT.

So why has Erdogan blamed Gulen for this coup?

  • Gulen and Hizmet is Erdogan's "default scapegoat". Whenever something happens that he does not approve, he blames it on Gulen.
  • Be it a condemnatory letter from 75 US Senators on Turkey; to corruption investigations; to something [else ridiculous]. Gulen becomes a pretext to purge state and society of anyone not entirely loyal.
  • It is far easier to blame this on Gulen because that is a narrative the public have already come to accept. Also, by claiming that the Gulen movement is everywhere, blaming this military act on Gulen allows Erdogan to strike elsewhere on pretext that they are one and the same.

How did Turkish people stood with President Erdogan against the military?

  • Erdogan's support among the Turkish electorate was approximately 40-50 per cent before this coup. So he already had widespread support.
  • Even those staunchly critical of Erdogan and the government condemned the coup and stood by the government.
  • Crucially, the coup plotters failed to project the sense that their coup was succeeding which coup experts point out as crucial.
  • There was no support for a military takeover by the Turkish people

Why have the people opposed Erdogan in the past? What has he done that has made people so unhappy?

  • In his 1st and 2nd terms, Erdogan ran a reforming government.
  • However, from 2010 onwards, Erdogan became increasingly authoritarian as he began to pursue more populist Islamist policies. The summer 2013 Gezi park protests was in reaction to this authoritarianism which Erdogan labelled as a coup of the "interest rate lobby", a euphemism for the Jewish lobby.
  • This authoritarian streak gained momentum when a series of corruption investigations implicating Erdogan's inner circle went public in December 2013 onwards. To suppress the substantial evidence and judicial investigations, Erdogan fought back to control and colonize the judiciary, media and civil society to crush all forms of dissent.
  • Many people are unhappy with the resulting authoritarian regime.

Aftermath - As of 19 July evening

  • 29,464 suspended from civil service
  • 1,577 deans were asked to resign
  • 21,000 teachers in private schools had their licences revoked
  • 6,319 soldiers are in custody
  • 950 civilians arrested
  • 3 newspapers were denied printing facilities
  • 20 news websites were blocked in Turkey
  • 2,745 members of the judiciary were among the suspended civil service personnel.

What now?

  • Erdogan has already won. There won't be any meaningful opposition to his witch-hunt against opposition groups from now on.
  • Till now, the Chief of General Staff resisted Erdogan's attempts of redesigning the military. The Chief of staff has now given into that.
  • Having attained complete loyalty from Turkish state and civil society structures, Erdogan next stop is likely to be the Turkish diaspora overseas.
  • We are already seeing coordinated attacks against Hizmet overseas and this is likely to continue.
·       For the past 6 years Erdogan has been creating formal and informal structures through which to mobilize the Turkish-speaking and increasingly wider Muslim communities.

Fethullah Gulen issued the following statement on recent developments in Turkey

I condemn, in the strongest terms, the attempted military coup in Turkey. Government should be won through a process of free and fair elections, not force. I pray to God for Turkey, for Turkish citizens, and for all those currently in Turkey that this situation is resolved peacefully and quickly.

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.

Fethullah Gulen's interviews

Mr. Gülen calls for an international investigation of coup attempt in Turkey

Posted by HerkulNagme_EN
Published on Jul 16, 2016

“On the occasion of the latest incident (coup attempt in Turkey), I can say that, if there is such a claim that there were people [among the perpetrators] whom I knew, whom I motivated and lead, people who acted with my orders, let's have an international committee investigate this matter. Let them investigate if there was such a thing and let them make a decision. I will comply with whatever the result is, even if it is a lie... I will comply even if the committee is bribed and signs and fills papers that calumniate. But only a big international organization should do the investigation, in my humble opinion"

Fethullah Gülen: 'I deplore and reject any anti-democratic attempts.'

Posted by HerkulNagme_EN
Published on Jul 19, 2016

Q: What is your position on this coup attempt and the claims that you are involved in this?

A: I condemn and reject any coup whatsoever. I deplore and reject any coup attempt as well. I would raise my arms and would stop them saying that "this is a dead-end", even against considerations of a coup, as the famous Turkish poet Necip Fazil said This has always has been my general attitude; and my attitude will never change. If even the people who would like to drink my blood would come to the power through democratic elections, I would never consider or approve them being taken down through anti-democratic ways and methods. I do not and will never consider or approve such an attempt. Even if they [those elected] would drink my blood, I would go among people who are trying to bring them down and raise my arms and tell them this is dead-end.

Why was Mr. Gulen's name brought up in the coup attempt in Turkey?

Posted by HerkulNagme_EN
Published on Jul 17, 2016

Q: Do you know why the president (Erdogan) needed to bring your name up in this [coup attempt]?

A: He (Mr. Erdogan) has always had a reaction to those who do not obey him since the beginning.

As I previously expressed in other occasions, maybe, he was concealing some of his feelings.

There are things they were not able to achieve worldwide. People in the Hizmet Movement opened schools in 170 countries.

They tried to open Yunus Emre houses in 14-15 locations but they could not be successful. Turkish Olympiads displeased them.

Before founding the [AK] Party, he came to consult with me about founding the party. I met with him twice. One is when he came to ask my opinion about founding the [AK] Party. I suppose, he went to other people as well. It was not only a matter of asking opinion but also seeking support. I expressed my own considerations at the time.

Then my friends told me this. After he met with me in the 5th floor (Altunizade, Istanbul), when he was in the elevator, he said to the person next to him "we need to defeat them, vanquish them first."

That is, they do not want any alternative formation, any service to exist.

Fethullah Gülen comments on rumors about the coup attempt in Turkey

Posted by HerkulNagme_EN
Published on Jul 17, 2016

Q: What is your opinion about the possibility that they (the Turkish gov't) staged this coup attempt themselves; are there any findings that suggest this?

A: In my opinion, how the incident took place is not like a coup. It is more like a sham. High level officers were not involved. In the past, coups were staged by high-level army officers, like generals etc.

I do not know what level officers were involved in the latest attempt. But in terms of how it took place, it seems more like a scenario to me.

There are also rumors. Some people approach the matter in a way that suggests 'they plotted it themselves to strengthen their power, to do the retrenchment he wanted to do.'

There are also his (Erdogan's) statements afterwards. He said things like "Now our hand became stronger. We can easily fire the army officers whom we wanted to fire on the basis of this [coup attempt] category."

When we bring all these together, it is what we make sense of the entire statements made before and after the incident.

We cannot say it absolutely. Saying, 'it clearly happened this way' would be an imputation. However, it is one of the possibilities that come to mind based on the considerations I mentioned.

Gülen: The truth will eventually come out, let us focus on integrity and togetherness of our society

Posted by HerkulNagme_EN
Published on Jul 17, 2016

Q: Is there any message that you would like to send out to the people of Turkey?

A: One one side, we hear certain allegations and discomfort from certain groups of people. On the other side, we see certain people being exposed to oppression and suffering; they are being crushed under the allegation of horrendous acts. I would like to ask all of them to keep their calm. I would suggest that they not rush into any conclusions. Time is the most significant interpreter we have. Let us allow time to interpret, uncover and resolve this issue.

Also, Allah (God Almighty), whom we have full faith in, will allow for the truth to come out sooner or later. And every person will then see things for what they truly are.

Indeed, we must not lose our balance. The nation of Turkey, the people have been polarized and separated greatly. The repair that is needed requires a great effort on all our part. Society needs to undergo a rehabilitation process. In this respect, it would be wrong to bring about new wounds and tears.

The integrity and togetherness of the society.. that is what needs to be preserved.. and whatever that may require, we must do what we need to do.

CBS8 - San Diego News: Local group reacts to accusations against cleric
CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

By Dominic Garcia, Reporter CONNECT

The local group Pacifica Group, which follows the teachings of a cleric accused of being behind the failed coup attempt in Turkey, claims Muhammed Fetullah Gulen was not behind Friday's coup. 

Fox31 Denver: Some Coloradans feel backlash of failed coup in Turkey

Some Coloradans feel backlash of failed coup in Turkey

AURORA, Colo. -- We’re thousands of miles from the trouble in Turkey after a failed attempt to overthrow the government. But some Coloradans are feeling the backlash.

They are supporters of Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, who is accused of spearheading the uprising. The Multicultural Mosaic Foundation is a nonprofit established by Turkish-Americans in Colorado in 2003.

Their main source of inspiration is Gulen. Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Gulen and his supporters are terrorists. But Gulen's supporters say that claim is laughable.

After the gunfire rang out and more than 265 people died, government supporters stopped the military from overthrowing Erdogan.

"To see bombs thrown at bridges, military attack civilians, this is heart break," said Ismail Akbulut, president of Multicultural Mosaic Foundation in Aurora.

For Akbulut, of Superior, that wouldn't be the end of it. The accusations came next.

"They held the movement responsible for what was going on in Turkey," he said.

Multicultural Mosaic Foundation is affiliated with the Gulen movement, named after the famed cleric, who Turkey's president called the head terrorist who plotted the uprising.

But Akbulut said Gulen's movement is about peace, pro-democracy and bringing people together without religion or politics.

"He preached for more than 40 years nonviolence. He is referenced as the Turkish Mahatma Gandhi," he said.

But accusations by Erdogan still spark anger.

"People who we called friends in the U.S., in Colorado, wrote on Facebook, called us terrorists, threatened us," said Akbulut.

One message said, "If you truly like Turkey and you would like to do something good, go ahead destroy yourself because we don't want to make our hands dirty."

Another said in an email: “I don't want to be subscribed on the list of a terrorist group trying to overthrow a democratically-elected government ..."

"We have a culture center here. We feel we could be attacked by supporters of Erdogan," Akbulut said.

Erdogan supporters already vandalized a cultural center affiliated with Gulen in Lyon, France.

"Turkey was doing a few years ago a good job promoting democracy. Now it's turning into a dictatorship," said Akbulut.

Erdogan demanded the United States extradite Gulen to Turkey from Pennsylvania. And the U.S. said it will if Turkey has evidence of Gulen's involvement in the coup.

Colorado group defends Turkish cleric accused in coup

Ryan Haarer, KUSA 5:47 PM. MDT July 18, 2016
DENVER - After Turkish President Tayipp Erdogan reassured the country his government successfully stopped a military coup, he began pointing fingers at an exiled cleric living in Pennsylvania whose movement maintains followers around the world -- including people in Colorado.

The Multicultural Mosaic Society in Denver is a group that follows the teachings of Fethullah Gulen. The group’s president, Ismail Akbulut, says he wasn’t surprised by the accusations. He says it’s led to violence and discrimination against people in the Gulen Movement.

“It is scary because some friends and family members are being targeted by individuals in Turkey motivated by Turkish president Erdogan. They are seeing them as terrorists so they target them individually, attack them physically and also on social media with death threats,” Akbulut said.

Experts at University of Denver agree with Akbulut. Director of Middle East Studies at the University, Nadar Hashemi, finds the accusations to be farfetched but not surprising when considering the relationship history between Erdogan and Gulen. In 2013, documents and audio was leaked exposing corruption within the Turkish government and it’s widely believed that the Gulen Movement was behind it.

“Since then Erdogan has basically been on a campaign to completely eradicate the Gulen Movement from Turkish society and I think he is using the coup now as an opportunity to try and settle scores suggesting that he is going to demand the extradition of Fethullah Gulen from the United States even hinting that U.S.-Turkish relations and relations between Turkey and NATO could be put in jeopardy if the united states doesn’t comply with his request,” Nadar said.

But the Gulen Movement’s not a violent one despite the Erdogan led government labeling the group as a terrorist organization. Hashemi says it’s a civil society, religious based movement that does social welfare work. Gulen promoted interfaith communication and perhaps most notably, education.

Gulen inspired schools have popped up all over the world with a focus on S.T.E.M. education and English language learning outside of the US. Several hundred secular charter schools exist in the United States, including the Lotus School of Excellence in Aurora.

Hashemi says these schools generally have a good reputation but there have been investigations into questionable financial management of the schools run largely by Turkish immigrants who follow the teachings of Gulen.

“They finance the movement, they have schools around the world including several hundred charter schools here in the United States. It does have a certain hierarchal sort of authoritarian internal organizing capacity and component to it’s internal functioning,” Hashemi said.

The Colorado Board of Education denied to appeals for additional charter schools by Lotus citing “financial concerns, facility concerns, enrollment concerns” and a “lack of transparency.”

But the way schools are run probably aren’t an indication of Gulen’s involvement or lack-thereof in last week’s coup.

“It is sad to see people are going against other citizens, other friends because they are motivated by the Turkish president,” said Akbulut, worried about an Erdogan dictatorship. “I am completely against the military coup attempt. I am completely against the military regime. I am pro democracy.”

Copyright 2016 KUSA

Hate speech in Turkey turns into hate crime

Posted by Social Port
Published on Jul 20, 2016

About Pacifica


Pacifica Institute’s mission is to develop social capital—the creation and extension of positive connections within and between disparate social networks to achieve mutual understanding and common commitments to enriching the social good in the Western US States.


Pacifica Institute seeks to accomplish its vision by engaging in a variety of civic activities and inviting others to generate and share insights, thereby removing barriers to confidence-building and trust. This sharing of insights and understanding can then create real opportunities for mutual respect and appreciation, offering an environment in which a shared narrative can be rooted.


Pacifica Institute was founded as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization by a group of dedicated volunteers in San Fernando Valley in 2003. Idea was to do good for the 

Pacifica Institute strives for social justice, interfaith cooperation, advocacy through positive change and connections, relationship-building and partnership for the common good, and respecting both religious and non religious identities through its wide range of activities like Social Responsibility Projects, Festivals, Panels, Conferences, Talks, Civic Engagement Projects, Annual Dialogue and READ THE REST

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