Turkey’s Anti-Gulen Clampdown Rages Out Of Control

On August 17, the Turkish prime minister issued a ” special decree” announcing the release of 38,000 prisoners, not including any sentenced for murder, sexual abuse, or rape. This includes financial crimes.

Tukey’s overcrowded prisons and slow court processes have forced all governments to issue some sort of amnesty every year to make room for new prisoners. But the unprecedented scope of the clampdown on suspected supporters of U.S.-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, who has been accused of masterminding the July 15 coup attempt, seems to have played a major part in inducing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government to move quickly and include as many inmates as possible in the amnesty.

But… European experts skeptical of the Gulen movement

European public opinion is divided on the Gulen movement, which the Turkish government holds responsible for the country’s failed July 15 coup.

The Gulen movement, classified as a terrorist organization in Turkey and labeled the number one enemy of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is viewed as a moderate Islamic movement in Germany.

According to political and Islamic scientist Thorsten Gerald Schneiders, the primary reason for this perception is the lack of information about the Gulen movement itself in Germany. Schneiders says the negative image of Erdogan shapes this view.

“German assessments rise from the assumption ‘if Erdogan is bad then the Gulen movement must be good,'” he said