Days before Prime Minister Imran Khan's visit to Turkey, Pakistan has declared US-based Fethullah Gulen's FETO group a terrorist organization.
The Supreme Court on Friday (Dec 28) directed the Ministry of Interior to declare Pak-Turk International Cag Education Foundation (PTICEF) of Gulen group as a 'proscribed organization.'
The judgment said the Pak-Turk International Cag Education Foundation is declared a terrorist organization in the light of the decisions of OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation) and Asian Parliamentary Assembly, noting that Turkey has also declared the aforementioned organization a terrorist group.
The court decision came in a constitution petition seeking directions to declare PTCIF as a terrorist outfit and handing over custody of Pak-Turk 28 schools to the Turkiye Maarif Foundation (TMF), established in 1999.
The judgment said that the evidence available to the court showed that the PTICEF was found by the investigative and judicial authorities of Turkey to have direct links and nexus with FETO (Gulenist Terror Organisation (Fethullahçı Terör Örgutu; abbreviation: FETÖ).
The order further says the step represents international commitments of the government of Pakistan towards the international community and, more importantly, towards the Republic of Turkey with which the government and the people of Pakistan enjoy close relations.
Gulen movement declared a terrorist group by Turkey
On June 1, 2016, President Erdogan officially designated the Gulen movement a terrorist group and said he would pursue its members whom he accused of trying to topple the government.
Gulen, described by Pape Escobar as a CIA asset, has long been accused by leading Justice and Development Party (AKP) lawmakers, President Erdogan and his inner circle of forming and heading a terrorist organization to topple the Turkish government through insiders in the police and other state institutions.
Critics point to a video that emerged in 1999 in which Gulen seemed to suggest that his followers should infiltrate mainstream institutions. "You must move within the arteries of the system, without anyone noticing your existence, until you reach all the power centres " You must wait until such time as you have got all the state power, until you have brought to your side all the power of the constitutional institution in Turkey."
According to the Diplomat, in May 2015, Tajikistan had become the latest Central Asian country to close schools linked to the Gulen movement. In fact, Tajikistan's decision to close the schools reflected a wider trend in the region. The Turkish Daily Sabah reported in mid-May 2015 that Kosovo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kazakhstan, Somalia, and Japan have all begun procedures to close Gulen-linked schools. In July 2014, Azerbaijan closed Gulen schools on fears of a parallel government. Uzbekistan shut down its Gulen schools in 1999. In Russian Chechnya and Dagestan regions Gulen-backed schools were once banned by President Putin. The Gulen website says that the schools are back in operation.
Turkish court in December 2014 issued an arrest warrant for Gulen. Turkish government has asked for his repatriation.
Gaza Freedom Flotilla
Tellingly, in 2010, Gulen shocked Turkey when he supported brutal Israeli operation on May 31, 2010 against the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara, which was part of six ships of the "Gaza Freedom Flotilla" in the international waters of the Mediterranean Sea. The Turkish led flotilla, organized by the Free Gaza Movement and the Turkish Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (degreesHH), was carrying humanitarian aid and construction materials, with the intention of breaking the illegal and inhumane Israeli-Egyptian blockade of the Gaza Strip.
During the raid, nine activists were killed including eight Turkish nationals and one Turkish American, and many more were wounded. Volunteers had come from over forty countries, united by the simplicity of their mission: to publicly deliver aid to Gaza in order to challenge Israel's illegal blockade on small, densely populated Gaza strip.
In his 2010 Wall Street Journal interview, Gulen commented on the incident, saying, "It is not easy to say if they [the IHH] are politicized or not". He continued by insisting that the IHH should have sought permission from Israel before transporting aid to Gaza.