Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Turkish President Erdogan Takes Anti-Gulen Movement Campaign to Africa

Reuters reported on 31 May 2016 that "Turkey Officially Designates Gulen Religious Group as Terrorists." This puts the supporters of Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen, who are also known as Hizmet or the Turkish word for service, in the same category as Kurdish militants who are fighting Turkey's army in the southeast part of the country. The government of Turkey provided no evidence of terrorist activity by the Gulen Movement other than it disagrees with some of the policies of the Erdogan government.

Reuters also published on 31 May 2016 an article titled "With Africa Trip, Turkey's Erdogan Aims to Quash Influence of Islamic Cleric" by Orhan Coskun and Tulay Karadeniz. President Erdogan has begun a visit to Kenya and Uganda, where he reportedly will encourage the governments of those countries to shut down schools affiliated with the Gulen Movement.

The Anadolu Agency published on 31 May 2016 an article titled "Cavusoglu: Turkey Sees Real, Reliable Partners in Africa" that reports on the visit to Rwanda by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu. An extension of the visit to East Africa by President Erdogan, the foreign minister emphasized that Turkey has 39 embassies in Africa, Turkish Airlines has 38 destinations to Africa, and the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency has opened 14 offices in Africa. There was no mention of the Gulen Movement.

For an update on "Hizmet in Africa" see my remarks at an international conference on Hizmet held in Sao Paulo, Brazil on 19 May 2016.

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