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Close Gulen’s institutions in India, demands Turkey

Turkey has officially asked India to act against the institutions affiliated to the network of Fethullah Gulen, the exiled Sufi leader it blames for the July 16 coup attempt. “Turkey has approached the Union Home Ministry and we are currently looking into the matter,” a senior diplomatic source confirmed to The Hindu after Turkey’s Consul-General in Mumbai, Erdal Sabri Ergen, alleged that the Gulenist institutions active in India were part of the wider plot against the Turkish government.

Turkey blames Mr. Gulen and his worldwide followers of plotting the coup that failed. Mr. Gulen, a preacher, is a former ally of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan but was forced to leave Turkey in 1999 under growing political pressure at home.

India connection

“In the aftermath of coup attempt in Turkey, we have found some connection in Mumbai and India of perpetrators. Fethullah’s terror organisation has network worldwide including India. They provide money and support to overall organisation [of Gulen]. Every such institution must be closed,” Mr. Ergen told presspersons on Monday.

Gulenist websites say at least nine schools affiliated to the Gulenist philosophy of Sufi Islam are operational in India and several think tanks and civil society organisations have held inter-faith dialogue following the model of the Gulenist movement.

“They should be put under microscope. This is an illegal network with a sinister design in mind. The institutions connected with the network are there in Mumbai. We believe the Indian authorities already had that information. We have given a lot of documents and provided evidence,” Mr. Ergen said.

The official complaint against the Gulenist organisations in India is significant as it comes a week after Turkey’s Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, visited Pakistan and spoke in support of Pakistan’s position on Kashmir.

“With regards to the Jammu and Kashmir question, Turkey has been supporting, fully supporting, Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan’s position,” Mr Cavusoglu told the media during his visit on August 2.

Turkish authorities had hinted soon after the coup that they wanted Gulen-affiliated institutions in India to close down. On July 19, Turkey’s ambassador in India Burak Ackapar first demanded closing down of Gulenist institutions in India.

“We are aware of their presence in India. We hope to get a sympathetic response from India on this matter,” Mr. Ackapar said.

Sufi forum

Fethullah Gulen’s followers had participated in the World Sufi Forum held in Delhi where Prime Minister Narendra Modi had participated. Sources in the All India Ulama and Mashaikh Board (AIUMB) said that Mr Gulen also was one of the probable invitees to the Sufi meet.

(With agency inputs)

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Printable version | Oct 29, 2020 12:16:16 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/Close-Gulen%E2%80%99s-institutions-in-India-demands-Turkey/article14559016.ece

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