“I am a graduate from the Kyrgyzstani University, from the class of 2003 as an English teacher. As a result of the military coup of February 28, 1998, our diplomas were deemed ineligible. At that time, traveling to Central Asia was perceived as an indicant of affiliation to the Gulen Movement. Thus, for nearly ten years I could only work in underpaid jobs here and there that were out of my field, being regarded as a high school graduate. In the meantime, I fulfilled my military service as a long term private despite college graduates being able to do with a short term lieutenancy. Then, I got married and enrolled into college again. Ten years later, I was informed that my initial diploma was now validated. Without any explanation, I received my diploma along with validation papers. As a Hizmet Movement affiliate, this was the first and most vicious of discriminations I had endured. I am haunted by the ramifications of these proceedings to this day.
For 17 years, I have been trying to support the endeavors of the Hizmet Movement, be it financially or voluntarily. For nearly 10 years, I have worked as a director in educational institutions inspired by it; I have worked as public relations personnel, and most recently as an advisor at a University’s perpetual education center. Following the coup progression, my workplace was shut down, and just like it had been for all the other employees at Fatih University, I was subject to a terror investigation. I would like to just note that neither I nor anyone from my family has ever had a criminal record. I have never done anything illegally. I have never openly or secretly thought of anything that would harm my country or my nation. Throughout my years of affiliation, in and out of the country, to the Hizmet Movement, I have never witnessed or heard from anyone that I have worked with, an intention or an inclination to engage in activity that would harm my country or other countries and their people. Had I witnessed any such behavior or any misbehavior for that matter, I would have not been a part of this movement. I would have not married an affiliate of this movement, and nor would I have sent my successful and talented daughter to any of its private institutions.
The pressures and intimidations that escalated after the proceedings of December 17-25 have deeply affected my wife, children, my close friends, my colleagues, and I. My wife’s workplace was shut down. She is now unemployed; my daughter’s school was shut down. My closest friend’s house was stormed by four busloads of policemen; we have been subject to written and verbal torment. My colleagues from the university are being held under terror investigations. My workplace was shut down and I am now being held under an investigation in the grounds of being a member of a terror group and of aiding and abetting the coup attempt. The house that I bought after years of hard work and bank loans and my car which I had bought with a loan from a friend are being denied their sale. Me, my family, and our close friends are being discriminated by friends, relatives, and fellow countrymen as a result of the slander, defamation, badmouthing, and false accusations that the Hizmet Movement has been accustomed to. The social turmoil has found its way into our homes and has led to tension and occasional arguments within the family.
I am a graduate of two universities, one being the bachelor’s degree I attained out of country, and the other being the master’s degree I attained from Fatih University. My workplace was shut down and my wages have been cut off. My properties are being denied their sale. I am being held under investigation and am being accused of aiding abetting the coup attempt and being a member of a terrorist group, in spite of a lack of any evidence or any intel that would suggest so.
My wife who was a mathematics teacher at the Anafen Tutoring Center, one of the most prestigious institutions in Turkey, is now jobless because the institution was shut down. She was denied employment by other institutions due to her involvement with her prior institution. My daughter was enrolled into the gifted and talented program after passing schoolwide, regional, and national exams; unfortunately, her school is now shut down due to its affiliation with the Hizmet movement. Our efforts to enroll her into a similar caliber institution education wise yet at the same time one that is affordable were fruitless and so we couldn’t enroll her into any institution.
It is known that for years now we have been members of the Hizmet movement of which we have been spreading glad tidings of, to our surroundings, as well that we have been and are inspired by Mr. Gulen’s teachings. It is likely that the state’s and the people’s hatred and animosity that have been spurred by the coup attempt and by other proceedings towards me, my family, my close friends, and my colleagues, without any basis or evidence, but rather through sought political revenge and the manipulation of scam news, are bound to culminations that would evoke those of past tragedies. We have no security of life or property. We have been left without any written or vocal press, or any institution for that matter through which we can express and vocalize our liberties and rights. The world press has covered a substantial amount of news regarding the imprisonment, rape, and torture of innocent victims. I fear that based on the state of affairs in my country, that if I do return, I will be imprisoned, raped, left void of my rights under harsh circumstances, socially isolated, or even lynched simply because of my beliefs, ideals, thoughts, and my affiliation to the movement.”