Turkish M.P., Metin Külünk, urged Belgian political leaders, during a speech yesterday evening (Thursday) at Beringen (Limburg), to be suspicious of Gülenists and called for the closure of Gülenist schools. The right-hand man of the Turkish Preisident, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, went to Limburg on the invitation of the European Association of Turkish Democrats (EATD), to evoke his country’s situation after the failed military coup on July 15th.
He was warmly welcomed in Beringen, where a significant Turkish community lives. Külünk, in particular, is responsible for maintaining contacts with expatriate Turks.
Before the speech, Belgian and Turkish hymns were played.
A propaganda film was then disseminated with images of the failed coup d’état, followed by Mr Erdogan’s appeal to galvanise support against the perpetrators of the coup d’état.
The Belgian President of the EATD, Basir Hamarat, spoke first. He appealed for Europe to support Turkey in the fight against terrorists.
He said, “After the attack, Turks from the four corners of the world gathered to condemn the attack. As Turkish Europeans, we are waiting for the rest of Europe to do likewise,” he said.
He went on “Turkey has taken part in the fight against terrorism and is waiting on Europe to do the same against terrorists present in Turkey.”
He concluded, “Europe could better support Turkey to combat the Islamic State in Syria,” he said.
During a sometimes angry exchange, Mr Külünk then warned politicians, security services and Gülenists, which he qualified as “ ‘soft’ terrorists”.
Külünk was alluding to the preacher, Fethullah Gülen, currently in exile in the United States, who for his part denies all implication in the aborted coup.
“I am warning you that these terrorists are infiltrating everywhere, in the media, security services and politics. I am warning you: they are dangerous.”
The deputy added, “I am calling upon Belgium to close Gülenist schools and expel them from Belgium. They are saying things against Turkey.”
He then called upon the Turks to engage more on a local scale, in politics, teaching and community life. That way these Turks can provide can give their version of this particular issue.
“Do not simply remain in your ethnic group but also mix with Belgian associations,” he appealed. More than one thousand individuals heard Metin Külünk’s speech yesterday.