Gülen Movement

The Wide Reach of Erdogan’s Wrath

Anhänger des türkischen Staatspräsidenten Erdogan halten am 31.07.2016 in Köln (Nordrhein-Westfalen) Fahnen. Mehrere Tausend Deutschtürken sind zu einer Pro-Erdogan-Demonstration in Köln zusammengekommen. Foto: Henning Kaiser/dpa +++(c) dpa - Bildfunk+++
A pro-Erdogan rally in Cologne in July.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Germany is home to some 3 million people of Turkish descent, the largest Turkish diaspora in the world, and Gülen supporters among them are feeling the wrath of President Erdogan.

  • Facts


    • The Turkish government has accused cleric Fethullah Gülen of orchestrating the July 15 coup attempt and has launched a major crackdown against his supporters.
    • Gülen supporters in Germany are reporting threats, abuse and assaults by backers of President Erdogan.
    • German authorities have rejected Turkish demands to extradite Gülen supporters and put them under surveillance.
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Fikret Dogan jumps up to reenact what happened to him one afternoon at the end of July. The slender Mr. Dogan, 40, stands in front the person opposite him and pretends to grab their throat. That’s how the muscular guy bore down on him. “If I just go ‘snap’ you’re dead,” the man had said to him in Mr. Dogan’s own office at his car dealership in the picturesque German town of Velbert in the Bergisches Land hill range of North Rhine-Westphalia.

“Fetö Terrorist.” Fetö – the Turkish abbreviation for Fethullahistic Terror Organization — is how supporters of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have been referring to the movement of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gülen since the July 15 coup attempt.

Mr. Dogan works in a local association that supports Mr. Gülen, and he has been having sleepless nights as a result. He is on one of the lists of names of Gülen backers that are doing the rounds on WhatsApp. His group, Clavis, focuses on education and integration, organizes music lessons for children and German-language lessons for refugees. “Education and integration,” he repeats several times, clasping his hands in a desperate appeal, as if to say, how can that be a crime?

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