Talk with Dr Ismail M. Sezgin on Fethullah Gülen and Hizmet Movement

After the 2016 failed coup attack in Turkey, the Turkish government accused Fethullah Gülen and Gülen’s “Hizmet” movement as the masterminds of the failed coup attack. Then, many teachers, professors, government officials, prosecutors, army members, police officers and human rights activists were detained, persecuted, and oppressed for their alleged link to the Hizmet movement. But what is the Hizmet Movement? Who is Fethullah Gülen? In addition, why is the current Turkish regime accusing Gülen of plotting the failed coup attack in 2016?

Broken Chalk is a non-profit organisation that fights against all types of discrimination, particularly human rights violations in education. As a fast-growing organisation, Broken Chalk strives to remove existing barriers in the educational sphere worldwide, collaborating with communities and organisations that share a similar mission and becoming a leading organisation that sustainably addresses human rights violations.

As part of Broken Chalk’s mission to defend human rights in the field of education, the “Broken Chalk Talks” program, launched on Monday, is a mini-seminar series for a 3-week period, whereby Dr Ismail M. Sezgin gives a lecture. As the Executive Director and Co-Founder of the Center for Hizmet Studies and research assistant at Regent’s Park College, his purposes with this initiative are to educate people about Fethullah Gülen – a Turkish Islamic scholar who self-exiled in the USA since 1999 -, about Hizmet Movement, and on the oppression of Hizmet Movement members, for many of them have been detained and stripped away from their jobs and positions.

In the first week of the seminar, Dr Ismail briefly introduced Fethullah Gülen’s life and activism since an early age, the atmosphere in Turkey during the 1990s, and how he was forced to emigrate to the United States to protect himself from his potential assassination. Dr Ismail provided a brief history of the Hizmet movement and its activism and dedication to human rights and charity works to improve marginalised people’s education, health, and living conditions. For the next two weeks, the seminar will discuss the Hizmet Movement and the ‘AKP’ – the current ruling party in Turkey and explain the reason for the AKP’s accusations towards Gulen and the Hizmet Movement on the grounds of ‘terrorism’. He will additionally dive into the reason for the Hizmet Movement’s support for AKP and Erdogan from 2002 until 2013, why the Hizmet movement stopped supporting the AKP, as well as the persecution of the Hizmet Movement in Turkey after the failed coup attack in 2016.