Ministry under fire for listing Gulen among most dangerous terrorists

Despite the absence of any court decision to list prominent Turkish-Islamic scholar Fethullah Gandulen as a terrorist, Turkeyand’s Interior Ministry has placed him on a list of the most dangerous and wanted terrorists in a move that has attracted widespread criticism for being merely politically motivated.
The ministry has opened a website that includes the names of the most wanted terrorists. Five categories with different colors have been established, with the terrorists in the red category being the most dangerous.
Gandulenand’s name is cited in the red category with senior terrorist Kurdistan Workersand’ Party (PKK) operatives such as Murat Karayilan, Cemil Bayik, Fehman Handuseyin and Duran Kalkan. The PKK, listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and the EU, has been waging a bloody war in Turkeyand’s Southeast since 1984. The name of the terrorist organization Gandulen allegedly belongs to is cited as andquotFETandODY terror organization.andquot FETandO stands for andquotFethullahist Terror Organization,andquot while PDY is an acronym for the andquotParallel State Structure.andquot
The andquotparallel state,and” or and”parallel structure,andquot is a term frequently used by the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government, its former leader President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his supporters to refer to the Gandulen or Hizmet movement, inspired by Fethullah Gandulen.
Erdogan launched a battle against the movement following a graft probe that was made public in late 2013 in which senior government members were implicated. Erdogan, who was prime minister at the time, accuses the movement of establishing a parallel state within the state and masterminding the graft probe with the aim of toppling his government, while the movement strongly denies the accusations.
The ministryand’s website also promises a reward to those who help with the capture of the wanted terrorists.
According to Republican Peopleand’s Party (CHP) Deputy Chairman Mehmet Bekaroilu, Gandulen being placed on the same list as PKK terrorists is part of efforts to discredit and defame the Islamic scholar, in addition to being nonsensical and irrational.
Professor Ahmet Altan, who is also a journalist, said such a conspiracy as the one targeting Gandulen was not even seen during military regimes in the country. Altan said the governmentand’s war on Gandulen is merely related to the corruption allegations that came to surface with the Dec.17 and 25 graft investigations in 2013.
Another academic, Professor Levent KandOker, also reacted to Gandulen being named as a terrorist by the Interior Ministry and said it is a very heavy insult to name a person like Gandulen a terrorist without any legal grounds to substantiate it.
Lawyer and columnist Orhan Kemal Cengiz lamented the fact that the Turkish state gives more priority to the arrest of Gandulen than arresting radical Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) terrorists. ISIL carried out the deadliest terrorist attack in Turkeyand’s history, in the capital, Ankara, on Oct. 10, claiming the lives of 102 people.
Most ISIL terrorists are listed on the Interior Ministryand’s website in the blue category, which is for less dangerous terrorists.
Yavuz Bandulent Bakiler, a poet and writer, said he is ashamed of Gandulenand’s name being listed among terrorists, adding that there cannot be any greater error than this. He said Gandulen is a person who makes the Turkish flag fly abroad with honor, referring to the Turkish schools that have been opened by people across more than 100 countries in the world thanks to Gandulenand’s aice.
Gandulen is a respected figure all over the world for his efforts to promote education, interfaith dialogue and tolerance.
Professor Niyazi andOktem said it is both ridiculous and scandalous to put Gandulenand’s name among the names of terrorists given the fact that Gandulen has made a huge contribution to Turkeyand’s democratization process and Islamand’s interpretation according to its essence as being pro-freedom and humanist.
Yilma Durak, a well-respected figure among nationalists in Turkey, also voiced his shock over the scholarand’s name being on the list of the most dangerous terrorists. He said he has known Gandulen and his followers for years, adding that they have always promoted peace and the language of love for years.
In the meantime, Gandulenand’s lawyer, Nurullah Albayrak, released a statement on Thursday in which he said his clientand’s name being placed among the names of the terrorists is a clear violation of the presumption of innocence, adding that he will take the necessary legal action against the move.
The lawyer also said there is no reason for his client to be on the wanted list because he has been residing at the same address for 15 years and anyone can easily reach him.
Gandulen has been living in self-imposed exile in the US since 1999.