Members of the Hizmet Movement (Gülen Movement) in Ukraine were worried about the issue negotiated at the head-to-head meeting between Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the President of Turkey, and Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the President of Ukraine.
Zulal Pala, who has been working in International Cultural Centre “Syaivo“ since 2019. Mrs Pala has spoken to our news portal about his life in Ukraine.
Pala says: “I came to Ukraine in 2018 as a result of the arrests and pressures on my family and me after the so-called coup attempt on July 15, 2016 in Turkey. In order to live and improve myself in Ukraine, I learned the local language and immediately started my master’s degree. I taught Turkish language teaching at the International Cultural Centre “Syaivo” and participated in various activities.”
“We are victimised by Erdogan’s and Zelenskyy’s agreement upon extradition. Thus, my name was mentioned in the investigations in Turkey. Ukraine’s attitude towards the Hizmet movement, i was forcibly driven to throw my selves on a European safe country.” said Pala.
July 2018: Ukraine Unlawfully Expelled Two Gulenists
Yusuf Inan, a blogger, who has permanent residence, and a business person Salih Zeki Yigit were arrested by Ukrainian Security Service and abducted by Turkish Intelligence (MIT),which remains as the previous conviction of Ukrainian government. What is worse, a few days later local media published a list of a dozen of Gulenists to be detained and deported to Turkey for similar reasons.
Pala: “After the hard days, hard times started for me in this place where I took shelter. Going outside was extremely unsettling for me. Events at the cultural center were open to the public, so I was always in the spotlight.
I decided to flee from Ukraine in February 2020, after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy promised Erdogan to charge Ukrainian Security Service to deal with Gulen followers in Ukraine with these words:
“Talking on the ban of those organizations that are behind educational institutions in Ukraine. We have been discussing this topic for a long time today, in detail … Today I received very detailed things, facts, specific names … I gave all this information to our SBU leadership, which should deal with this issue.” 112.ua
Pala says: “In point of fact, that attitude evinced Zelenskyy’s and his government’s intention, thereat, we were determined to depart from Ukraine. Accordingly, we obtained Schengen Visa, however pandemic broke out and borders were closed. Notwithstanding, two presidents and governments have not taken steps backward and have taken concrete steps by reaching an agreement at the 9th Meeting of the High-Level Strategic Council, held in Istanbul, on the 10th of April in 2021.
That news made us feel how right we had been to worry; because 12th title of the letter of agreements is as follows:”
“Ensure swift processing of requests of extradition.”
“Support educational activities of Turkish Maarif Foundation in Ukraine.”
To clarify, I draw your attention to what Turkish President and bureaucrats have been keep telling lately:
Actual ambassador of Turkey in Ukraine, Ahmet Yagmur Guldere, delivered a speech in the commemoration ceremony of 15 July in Kyiv in 2021:
“As part of fighting against overseas organization of this crime ring, extraditions or deportations of “FETO” members in relevant countries is one of our priorities. Accordingly, more than 120 “FETO” members from different countries all over the world were brought to Turkey and I am glad to emphasize that Ukraine is one of the countries we collaborate on this subject. The existence of schools is one of the key components in the overseas organization of “FETO”. As a result of our endeavors, schools run by “FETO” in 42 countries were shut down. In 26 out of these 42 countries, closed schools were handed over to our Maarif Foundation. Our foundation is also in outstanding effort for opening new schools in order that we undertake our responsibility and mission. Endeavors to open schools in Ukraine is proceeding. We are determined to fight against “FETO”. With our citizens, cognates and Ukrainian friends, we will our with this organization and we will not give up until the last individual responsible is brought to justice.”
As it is obvious, we did not feel safe, we would not sacrifice our freedom and life safety to despotism. Deportations of 2 Gulenist teachers, Salih Fidan and Samet Gure, by Ukraine to Ankara in January 2021 was an implementation of the agreement between Ukrainian and Turkish states. These two teachers were jailed in Turkey after deportation.
By Yunus Erdogdu | Kyiv – [email protected]