Egypt Provides A Platform For Fethullah Gulen’s Affiliated Media

A source unveiled to alkhaleej algadeed (an investigative online newspaper) that a meeting of a number of leaders in “Fethullah Gulen’s organization” who are located in African countries has been held in Cairo. The meeting discussed the repercussions of the failed coup attempt and how to face the latest Turkish action against the organization and its cells within the Turkish state institutions as well as its external arms.

Moreover, the sources stated that Fethullah Gulen’s media arm, represented on the electronic website of Zaman-Arabic newspaper, is working from Cairo. In parallel with the Gulen’s affiliated media that escalated its attacks against the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who accused Gulen of being responsible for the failed coup attempt.

The Gulen-affiliated media outlet, including a team of Arab and Turkish journalists who administer the website of Zaman newspaper, related to Gulen, works in official headquarters based in Cairo with the acknowledgment of the Egyptian authorities, according to the source.

Last March, a Turkish court ruled to put “Zaman” newspaper under the judicial mandate to supervise its content and publication. Accordingly, new managers affiliated to the Turkish regime were appointed in the newspaper that represents Erdogan’s most vigorous opposition. Zaman’s chief editor, as well as its director-general, were detained.

The sources also pointed to the fact that the newspaper’s team used to work from Cairo before the failed coup attempt as the work has started in Cairo office months before the coup but the work has taken a larger scale and importance after the recent events. The Gulen-affiliated newspaper used to circulate nearly 850,000 copies in Turkey before the legal regulations that have been taken against it after the coup attempt.

The Zaman website posts news and reports that launch massive attacks against the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Justice and Development Party. One of these reports has accused Erdogan of plotting the coup to eradicate Gulen’s organizations by accusing it of standing behind the coup attempt. Moreover, the website streams recorded videos for Gulen translated into Arabic.

In the same context, Gulen, who is known for his widespread influence in most countries, has two schools in Egypt, one in Cairo and the other in Beni Suef, as well as a number of charity organizations and businessmen associations. He also has a popularity among the Egyptian students who were educated in the schools affiliated to him and the Turkish language sections at the Egyptian Universities.

Fetullah Gulen, who lives in a self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania, the United States, is the first defendant in the failed military coup attempt against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the democratically elected government in Turkey. He has a wide network of schools, charity institutions, and followers in Turkey and other places.

Erdogan accused Fethullah Gulen and his followers of forming “a parallel state” and plotting the military coup attempt on July 15 when rogue elements of the Turkish military tried to overthrow the country’s democratically-elected government, killing at least 246 people and injuring more than 2,100 others.

In this context, Ankara has presented an official request to the United States of America to extradite Gulen. The United States said that it will deal with the issue according to the law.

Accordingly, it seems that Egypt provides a media platform for Gulen as it perceives Turkey as one of the most hostile states to its military regime.

In fact, the Egyptian-Turkish relations have deteriorated after the ouster of the first democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi in a military coup led by Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in 2013.

Several Brotherhood live in exile in Turkey, having fled a bloody crackdown on Islamists following the military coup. In many occasions, the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has attacked the Egyptian government and condemned the military coup against Morsi.

However, the latest failed coup attempt in Turkey has highlighted Egypt’s opposition stance towards the Turkish regime. There are indications that the Egyptian side seeks with all its might to stand against Turkey.

On the diplomatic level, Egypt has expressed its reservation over a draft resolution in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation(OIC) to consider Fethullah Gulen’s organization as a “terrorist organization” during the OIC preparation meeting for its 43 rd session of the Council of Foreign Ministers.

The draft resolution was approved by almost all of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation attendants, except Egypt as it claims that its stance is based on some legal regulations, according to the (OIC)News Agency.

Egypt’s representative in the meeting said, “We are with the majority in the organization toward any draft resolution but we want to negotiate with Cairo on some regulations.”

In the same context, Egypt has also blocked a UN call to respect the democratically elected government in Turkey. A diplomat said that Egypt has previously objected to a statement in the United Nations’ Security Council that called on all parties to “respect the democratically elected government of Turkey.”

Egypt asked wanted to remove the phrase of “respect the democratically elected government of Turkey” from the draft statement, saying the council is “in no position to qualify or label that government – or any other government for that matter – as democratically elected or not,” said the diplomat. But the United States and Britain refused the proposed change to the text.

In addition, on the political level, a member of the Egyptian Parliament has called for providing political asylum to Fethullah Gulen who is accused of plotting the recent failed coup attempt in Turkey.

The Egyptian PM presented an urgent statement to the parliament to the Egyptian government calling for providing a political asylum to Fetullah Gulen as Turkey is hosting Egyptian opposition (the Muslim Brotherhood).

He also said, “I wanted to prick Turkey in any issue through my urgent statement.” He added,” They are insulting Egypt day and night and they host terrorists and Egypt’s opposition and this what pushed me to present this request.”

In fact, this wasn’t the first proposal for hosting Gulen in Egypt. Days ago, the Egyptian Journalist and TV program presenter, Ahmed Al-Moslimani, who is close to the Egyptian regime circles, suggested that “Egypt should host  if the U.S. decided to extradite him,” as reported by Middle East Observer last Friday. Al-Moslimani said -in his “The First Edition” TV program, that is broadcast on the Egyptian pro-regime Dream TV channel- that “Gulen is an innovating Islamic thinker who has Islamic community thoughts that introduce an image of Islam that is different from that introduced by the terrorists and the hard-line currents of the political Islam.”

In addition, Egypt has been one of the countries that Fethullah Gulen would seek to escape to according to intelligence information stated by Turkey’s minister of Justice Bekir Bozdag.