Gülen orders followers to ‘unite’ abroad: Report
Fevzi Kızılkoyun – ANKARA
REUTERS photoThe U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, who lives in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania, has reportedly ordered his followers who have fled Turkey to unite in the countries in which they have settled.
He also asked the movement’s followers to continue the group’s activities under the roof of the diaspora of Hizmet, the Turkish name for his movement, which translates as “service,” daily Hürriyet reported Aug. 15.
“Unite under the roof of ‘Hizmet diaspora,’ carry on with the Hizmet movement in the country that you’re in. Don’t use the words, ‘escape’ and ‘running away,’” Gülen said in encrypted messages he sent to followers, according to a report prepared by the National Intelligence Agency (MİT) after deciphering the messages.
“Instead of using the two words, say that you are performing the Hijra because of the pressure and cruelty [in Turkey],” he wrote.
After the July 15 failed coup attempt, believed to have been masterminded by the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization/Parallel State Structure (FETÖ/PDY), many Gülenists are assumed to have fled abroad.
The MİT cracked the messages of Gülenists sent via little-known smartphone messaging apps Eagle and Bylock, which previously came to prominence in a Reuters report saying that the intelligence agency tracked thousands of people suspected of being followers of the movement.
Gülen reportedly sent his orders consisting of four articles under the name of “urgent action plan.”
Urging followers to take their families with them, Gülen noted that they should “perform activities against Turkey” in the diaspora.
In addition, Gülen also gave directions on how Gülenists should travel between countries, saying they should avoid staying in countries with whom Turkey has good relations.
Romania, Georgia, Ukraine and northern Iraq could be used as transit points, but Gülenists should not stay in those places due to their good relations with Ankara in order to avoid being extradited, Gülen reportedly warned.
According to the MİT report, Albania, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Canada, the United States, South Africa and Egypt are among the places that Gülen recommended his followers to inhabit.
Thousands of people were suspended, detained or arrested after the failed takeover, while many others were sought with detention warrants for being suspected FETÖ/PDY members.