Ozcan Keles Musings of a British Muslim academic activist

Category / Op-ed

The Committee Last week, the Foreign Affairs Committee of House of Commons concluded its inquiry into UK-Turkey relations and published its findings and recommendations in the form of an 82-paged report. That report was the outcome of 8-months’ worth of research; written and oral evidence from a range of people including independent scholars, the Turkish […]

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Supporters of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hang an effigy of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen during a pro-government demonstration last month in Taksim Square in Istanbul. (Kursat Bayhan/Getty Images)

There was an attempted coup in Turkey on July 15, 2016. President Erdoğan and the ruling Justice and Development (AKP) party vigorously argue that it was masterminded and orchestrated by what they call, the “Fethullah Gülen Terrorist Organization” (FETO). This article evaluates the most commonly cited five pieces of evidence put forth by the Justice and Development (AKP) party, as listed and uncritically elaborated upon by a recent Al Jazeera report, to link Turkey’s failed coup with the Pennsylvania-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen and the Hizmet movement he inspires. Each piece of evidence is evaluated on a point-by-point basis posing pertinent questions and counter-perspectives that are desperately missing from the political and journalistic discussions in Turkey, and even beyond.

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Different country and context no doubt, but I believe Chilcot has something important to say about Turkey’s recent obsession with Fethullah Gulen, the Islamic cleric recently blamed as being behind Turkey’s failed coup. I also believe that we are beyond the considerations of framing caused by inadvertently analogising between one set of actors and another.

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Knowledge Sharing

İslami ilimler tarihinde başkalarının belki üstü kapalı ifade ettiği bir tezi, bana göre yakın tarihimizde en net ve veciz savunan kişilerden birisi Abdulkerim Suruş olmuştur. Suruş’ın ‘Kabz-ı Bast-ı Teorik-i Şerîat’ başlıca bilimsel tezinde ‘din’ ile ‘dine ait bilgi ve ilmin’ arasındaki ayrıma dikkati çekmektedir ve islam aleminde yaşanan birçok problemin temelini bu ayrımın yapılamamış olmasına dayandırır. Özetle, Suruş’un savunduğu argüman şudur: Din başkadır, din ile alakalı bizim bildiğimiz başkadır. Biri ‘mutlak dindir’, diğeri ise bizde bulunan ‘dine ait bilgi ve ilimdir’.

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Fethullah Gulen

Once again terrorists have struck out at innocent people in Paris and Beirut. To add insult to injury, as if that were possible at this level of depravity, the terrorists claim a religious justification for their heinous attacks. While it is clear that nothing of any worth can justify such barbarous acts, hundreds of Muslim […]

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Violent extremism is the combustible outcome of a cocktail of ingredients including, but not restricted to, identity crisis, perceived grievances, sense of stigmatisation and helplessness, past criminality, charismatic recruiter and ideology. In the recent White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism, Obama refused to label the Isis and Al-Qaeda “ideology” as “Islamic”, causing a significant […]

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Recently, as one of the two directors of the Dialogue Society in London, I co-signed a letter with another 21 British Muslims; the letter was addressed to Prime Minister David Cameron and called on him to stop referring to Isis (I use the letters as a name, not an acronym) as the “Islamic state,” but […]

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I cannot say, “I feel,” as feeling is required, but neither can I deny my God-given nature of being deeply moved by the suffering, injustice and pain of others. Years ago there used to be a rickety “Islamic” video store opposite Turnpike Lane mosque on Whiteman Road, North London. I would go there from time […]

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Following the Dec. 17 and 25 corruption investigations implicating Cabinet ministers and senior members of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, his inner circle and pro-AK Party media have launched a concerted, collective and comprehensive dehumanisation strategy against Fethullah Gülen and the Hizmet movement. What follows is a […]

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To me it is glaringly obvious what Erdoğan is doing: misdirection for the sake of justifying his retaliatory measures. That said, there comes a point in any crisis or argument when you need to tackle and address such claims, if only to redirect the discussion back to its proper course. Hence this piece’s aim of appraising Erdoğan’s claims of a “parallel state.”

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