A University Gate built in a Seljuk style with a 10-pointed star carved around has drawn wide-ranging criticism in Turkey with some linking it with the Gulen movement.
But the university’s rector was quick to dismiss such links. The gate saw some people linking it to the symbol on the lace pillow of Fethullah Gulen, a US-based cleric accused by Ankara of masterminding the failed 2016 coup.
The gate, heavily criticized by Turkey’s secular base for its Islamic style, was likened to a mosque entrance rather than that of a university when it was put up in 2018.
Dr. Alim Yildiz, the rector of the Cumhuriyet University in the central Anatolian city of Sivas, said in his defense the gate built was in Seljuk style architecture. He further said the 10-pointed star and the geometrical figures alike were widely used in Islamic art to decorate buildings and book covers.
“It is the Tree of Life pattern carved there. We have built three gates symbolizing the Seljuk, Ottoman and the Republican eras. What we used there is a Seljuk pattern,” said Dr. Yildiz.
Dr. Yildiz said a legal process has been initiated against some of the claims. He continued to lash out at the allegations asserting.
“The figures that had been widely used by our ancestors throughout our history are now being appropriated for one person. Think of it like this – are we going to stop reading the Holy Quran because Gulen has one with him also,” asked the university rector in a sarcastic manner.
Ankara initiated a crackdown on the Gulen Movement after the failed coup, dismissing 160,000 civil servants and imprisoning 80,000 on charges of being members of the Gulen movement.
The ongoing purge against those allegedly with Gulen link, widely seen as unfair, has seen some who have been wrongly accused committing suicide. There has also been accusations against several TV programmes that are seen as pushing a Gulenist agenda in a subliminal way.