In Turkey, the endless hunt for members of the Gülen brotherhood

In the photograph circulated by the Turkish authorities, the man is standing, handcuffed, framed by two Turkish flags, like a war trophy. Selahhadin Gülen, nephew of preacher Fethullah Gülen, accused of being the sponsor of the coup attempt of July 15, 2016, has just been “Repatriated” of Kenya by the Turkish intelligence services. According to the daily Nationality, he was one of the members of ” high level “ of the brotherhood.

The news was quickly followed by that of the capture of Orhan Inandi, another wanted member of the brotherhood and in exile, him, in Kyrgyzstan. He was reportedly kidnapped outside his home in Bishkek. The capture was not the subject of an official communication from Turkey but the profile of the person concerned suggests a kidnapping motivated by reasons similar to that of Selahhadin Gülen.

A political atmosphere still marked by the coup attempt

In Turkey, the political atmosphere remains very marked by the coup attempt of July 15, 2016 during which the parliament was bombed and clashes took place between the army and the population that took to the streets. The violence resulted in 251 deaths. Since then, many public places have been renamed in the name of those who are now referred to as “martyrs”.

Authorities quickly accused the Gülen brotherhood – renamed FETÖ (Fethullah Gülen Terrorist Organization) – of being behind the attempt to overthrow the government. The all-out purges that followed during the two-year state of emergency saw tens of thousands of members – real or perceived – blacklisted and convicted.

The role of the Minister of the Interior, Suleyman Soylu, in this “cleaning” is regularly hailed in conservative and nationalist circles close to power. However, the news of the capture of Fethullah Gülen’s nephew comes at a particularly sensitive time for the minister, who is facing serious accusations from a mafia boss who have been crystallizing attention in Turkey since the beginning of May.

A clear message to members wanted abroad

If the entire Turkish political class agrees on the involvement of members of the Gülen network in the coup attempt, the opposition parties regularly recall that all light has not been shed on the events, nor on the proximity to the brotherhood of certain high-ranking political figures who were not worried.

Some of the members of the brotherhood are still in exile in Europe, the United States, Central Asia … Others, like Selahhadin Gülen, have taken refuge in Africa where Fethullah Gülen’s network has developed a lot in recent decades. . With the media coverage of the latter’s capture, a clear message is being sent to other wanted members abroad.

The Turkish government regularly criticizes its partners for not helping it enough in its fight against FETÖ. The main accused, Fethullah Gülen, has remained a refugee in Pennsylvania since 1999. The United States, for which the evidence presented remains insufficient, refuses to extradite the preacher despite repeated requests from Ankara. Making this issue one of the hottest disagreements between the two countries.

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