In recent years due to increasing personal armament in Turkey, the claims of a social conflict have been brought up from time to time. The most recent claim came from an islamist preacher who called on the authorities to investigate his rival sects. One of the former Al Qaeda & ISIS suspects said this is a planned operation targeting the salafis in Turkey.
On September 10, islamist preacher known as “Cübbeli Ahmet” Mahmut Ünlü made a statement announcing that the salafi organizations in Turkey are getting armed in preparation of a civil war, adding “I am ready to testify if called upon by the authorities.”
Ünlü said “there are two thousand salafi organizations that are operating in Turkey and they are getting armed. I am ready to give the names and addresses of 150 of them, city by city.”
“IS THE MINISTRY OF INTERIOR UNAWARE?”
Following the claims of an islamist armament in society, main opposition Republican People’s Party CHP’s Ankara deputy Yıldırım Kaya brought the claim to the parliamentary floor. CHP deputy Kaya filed a parliamentary questionnaire demanding the Minister of Interior Süleyman Soylu’s response, “if Ahmet Mahmut Ünlü who is also known as ‘Cübbeli Ahmet’ knows of 2.000 salafi organizations getting armed and claims that they are doing so in preparation of a civil war, is the Ministry of Interior unaware of this development?”
In response, the Ministry of Interior announced “the issue is closely being monitored and necessary administrative and judicial processes will be initiated.”
Deputy Minister of Interior Mehmet Ersoy announced “our ministry has conducted inspections on the salafi associations and have issued monetary fines when necessary and many of them have been shut down. Furthermore, Interior Security Directorate also led a 1.5 year long process as well. After these claims, Civil Society Relations General Directorate initiated the inspections again in relation to anti-terrorism and information gathering units. We will continue investigating this process closely.”
CÜBBELİ AHMET TESTIFIED
Ahmet Mahmut Ünlü who had previously announced that he is ready to give the names and addresses of 150 organizations, was invited to give a testimony concerning his claims about the salafi organizations getting armed and preparing for a civil war. Ünlü was expected to go to the Security Directorate while he had testified at a special unit and left the directorate without appearing before the media.
Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office initiated an investigation concerning the claims and continues to gather information.
FORMER ISIS & AL QAEDA SUSPECT ON TARGET
One of the salafi preachers Murat Gezenler that was also targeted by Cübbeli Ahmet Mahmut Ünlü, gave an interview to journalist İsmail Saymaz following the claims and investigation.
Gezenler announced that he is one of the first people to reclaim ISIS and see them as a legitimate force fighting in Syria adding “everyone in Konya joined ISIS for example. Turks are Muslims but not for us. Casting a ballot and voting is equating a power to Allah and it is a sin. Sending your child to school is a sin, doing military service is a sin. Turks in the end have never really been Muslims.”
Gezenler stated that he spent four years in prison since 2001 as part of Al Qaeda and ISIS investigations and got acquitted from all accusations in the end, “if there was geniune islamic rule in Turkey, the first order would have been to shut down such islamist sects, monastries, lodges, shines.”
“STRONGER THAN EXPECTED”
Gezenler referred to Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization MIT, “as stated in the MIT reports, our numbers are not limited to 20.000 but we are much stronger than expected. There are at least 20 different sects in every province. Some are small like 5-10 people, we somehow get divided all the time. But there are not two thousand associations.”
“SALAFIS ARE THE SCAPEGOATS”
Gezenler also announced that this process is part of a planned assault targeting the salafis in Turkey, “as we are not integrated into the existing social structure, they are planning to scarifice the salafis. They are just preparing grounds. In about a month the operations will begin, we expect that. And then we will all be imprisoned. Secondly, the religious communities, sects are losing blood rapidly.”
After journalist Saymaz asked if there are no salafi groups that are actually getting armed, Gezenler said “the salafi structure never had that thoughts. I have been target of five different operations since 2001, they did not even find a box of matches on me. But perhaps one or two people might have bought guns.”