Turkish-Dutch threatened for supporting Gulen

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Turkish-Dutch who openly support Fethullah Gulen received serious threats after a failed attempted coup in Turkey last week, the Volkskrant reports based on conversations with threatened Gulen supporters.

Threats were made against Gulen supporters in Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Zaandam and Utrecht, according to the newspaper. Blacklists are circulating on the internet containing Turkish-Dutch companies that should be boycotted because their owners sympathize with Gulen. It is estimated that Gulen has a few thousand supporters in the Netherlands. Many of the people the Volkskrant spoke to asked to remain anonymous, out of fear of further retribution.

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan believes Gulen was behind the attempted coup in his country. This is also leading to tension among the about 400 thousand Turkish-Dutch in the Netherlands. Those who support Gulen now live in fear, they said to the newspaper.

"I've been threatened for two years, but since the weekend, the situation has become much worse", Mehmet Cerit, Gulen supporter and chief editor of the newspaper Zaman Vandaag, said tot he Volkskrant. "Many Turkish-Dutch follow the line of Turkish politics and are engaged in hate speech. In their eyes I am now a traitor." He asked the police for extra security around his paper's building. "Gulen supporters in the Netherlands no longer feel welcome in Dianet mosques, who openly show us the door. That affects my personal life."

One Turkish-Dutch entrepreneur's house door was forced open over the weekend. Someone carved his name into the door with the message: we know you live here.

"We will make your blood flow", was written on the Facebook wall of a Turkish-Dutch entrepreneur from Amsterdam. His family was also threatened. He pressed charges on Monday.

Ahmet Tasken, entrepreneur in Utrecht, also received threats, but will not be intimidated. "I trust that the Dutch government is able to protect its citizens", he said to the newspaper.

Ycel Aydemir, chairmen of the Utrecht mosque Ulu, accuses the Gulen supporters of causing tensions, for example by pointing the finger at Diyanet mosques. Many Turkish mosques fall under Diyanet, the Turkish Ministry of Religious Affairs. "Those woo want to undermine our objectives are not welcome in our  mosque, I said. I did not mention Gulen", he said to the Volkskrant.

Deputy Prime Minister Lodewijk Asscher, also the Minister of Social Affairs, and Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb called on the Turkish community in the Netherlands to remain calm. Their  message is simple: do not let violence and problems in Turkey spill over to the Netherlands.