Belgian aftershock from the Turkish coup d’état

Belgian Ummah

The Ummah (Arabic: الامة الاسلامية Al-Ummah al-Islamiyya or simply Al-umma) or worldwide Islamic community in Belgium feels the aftershock of the Turkish coup d’état.  The Ummah is seen as a global unit to which those countries are counted where Islam is the main religion, or, more generally, those persons who are Muslim, but like in Christendom there is a lot of variety in the believes of those Musulman.

Already last Ramadan the office of the Community Education received several requests from parents not having their children following music class because that would be a sinful action.

Students from the first years of secondary school refuse to participate in music class because they consider music and singing as haram (forbidden, say sin). Acts that are haram are typically prohibited in the religious texts of the Quran and the Sunnah.

If the school tells them that they need to participate because the state has determined it in the endterms and because it is on points which count for their end result, then those young children cry. They are afraid that the devil appears in the class, which is nowhere written. But today we do notice the same as for so called Christians that they do not really know what is written in their Holy Scriptures and believe more what the indoctrinational humanteachings (doctrines of man) offer them.

It is not about recalcitrant teenagers but about young children. In elementary school they refuse to go to swimming lessons in the Ramadan because it’s fast and then they should ingest no drink of water, and when swimming this could accidentally happen.

We can see that several youngsters become more conservative than their own parents or even go away form their parents Islamic faith to connect with more fundamentalist teachers. Often this brings friction in the homes and also gets some youngsters to decide to come up for the “Islamic cause” and going to fight in Syria.

Previous years, children younger than eleven, twelve years did not participate in the rigid way of Ramadan, because it’s not necessary according to the official Islamic rules (Sharia). But today we see the infiltration of much ore fundamental teachings, mainly form garage mosques and from the official Wahhabi and Saudi Arabic mosques.

Islamic division

That there comes a more disturbing division between the denominations of Islamic schools is clearly seen with what happens in Belgium the last few days. From the Belgian population 25% may adhere Islamic faith, but believing totally different issues. It often goes so far that in one family there may be division because the children are married in different faith groups which do not only disagree with each other, but also clearly show their dissatisfaction concerning each-other’s beliefs.

Turks or Belgians or Belgian Turks

When nationalistic feelings enter the cause it becomes worse, certainly when it reaches the point to coming to statism, it showed this last weekend. We must be aware of the existence of  shadowy Koranic schools, non-profit organizations which nobody knows what they preach. They apparently indoctrinate those children, but today we also should question who is teaching those children such national feelings not for the country they live in but for the country their grandparents left long ago.

The previous days in Beringen (Belgian Limburg) Turkish minds got very heated, following the attempted coup in Turkey. The military action in Turkey also resounded in Belgium already on the night of the attempted coup d’ état.

Willing to keep Salam or not

Like many foreigners they suddenly seem to forget that Islam, a name given by Allah to their religion (Quran 5:4) is an Arabic word which literally means obedience and salam or peace, also Allah or God being a bringer and giver of peace. What should be the seed of peace, Islam being derived from the Arabic root “Salema” should be a religion where peace, purity, submission and obedience are the main issue of life, following the Quran the message of peace. In the East many have lost the horizon and the North, but here in Belgium it looks like several Turkish Musulman also have forgotten that the ‘Islam‘ is the path of those who are obedient to Allah and who should establish peace with Him and His creatures. Many of the Turkish community living in Belgium claiming to be followers of the prophet Muhammad and therefore being called Muslims, showed the non-Muslims in Belgium that there is a severe schism in Islam and that those who were allowed to live here do not seem to accept the same freedom of religious thought the Belgian citizens are allowing to all who come to live here.

Constitutional state

A few weeks ago Flemish Prime Minister Bourgeois moved along at the dinner table at the end of the Ramadan, like he did as well in Ghent last year, when he was able to find that the iftar (or Fatoor) is a moment of solidarity and hospitality. Then as this year PM Bourgeois talked about our freedoms in our “rechtsstaat” (German: Rechtsstaat) a doctrine in continental European legal thinking, originally borrowed from German jurisprudence, which can be translated as a “legal state”, “state of law”, “state of justice”, “state of rights” or “state based on justice and integrity”.

Belgium is a fabricated, concocted amalgamation of different peoples, but a “constitutional state” in which the exercise of governmental power is constrained by the law, which is voted by the democratic chosen ones. The juridical system is often tied to the Anglo-American concept of the rule of law, but differs from it in that it also places an emphasis on what is just (i.e. a concept of moral rightness based on ethics, rationality, law, natural law, religion or equity). Thus it is the opposite of Obrigkeitsstaat or authoritarian state (a state based on the arbitrary use of power). {Free dictionary of languages}

When you know that in a Rechtsstaat, the power of the state is limited in order to protect citizens from the arbitrary exercise of authority,  the citizens share legally-based civil liberties enabling them to use the courts for any dispute which may occur. According to our idea, a country cannot be a liberal democracy without first being a Rechtsstaat. In our rule of law

“Our values, our rights and freedoms are the only way to an open and free society. Without our rights and liberties can a religious community like yours not live freely and uninhibited do its rituals. Our enemies are all those who try to undermine our open society with violence, “

said the Prime Minister.

Undemocratic attitude

On the 19th of July, Minister-President of Flanders Geert Bourgeois therefore criticized a spokesman of the Turkish embassy in Brussels, who had condemned purported good relations between Bourgeois, Flemish authorities and Flemish organizations on the one hand and the Gülen movement (Hizmet) on the other hand. Geert Bourgeois also denounced the dismissal of thousands of magistrates and teachers after the coup, stating that this is analogue to Nazi Germany and not worthy of a democracy and the rule of law.

Violence and hatred where shown aggressively on the streets of several Limburgian villages and ex-mining towns.

During Ramadan we heard already of some attacks against recordshops but also of protesters against those radical Muslims.

Last month there were days when hundreds of people went on the streets to protest against the conservative Islamic party AKP government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. They shouted slogans like

“all together against fascism

and called Erdogan a “thief” and a “murderer”. The police fired tear gas and used water cannons to drive the demonstrators apart and several people were arrested.

Now several of the Turkish community took revenge and treated people with death. Several Turks who belong to the Gülen movement got to flee and hide in safe places.

Turkish but also European social media silenced

It is unbelievable how many Turks came already on the streets on the night of the coup. We do know many, daily watch the Turkish television, with the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation, also known as TRT everywhere available in Belgium, so they are up to date of the Turkish situation and for them we can understand they also have their Turkish national flag at hand.

State-run broadcaster Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT), which has been criticized by the opposition parties for hiring employees based on their affiliation with the ruling party, has announced a TL 89 million loss for 2015. {State-run TRT announces TL 89 million loss in 2015}

Dutch Turks gathered Friday at the Turkish consulate in Rotterdam and expressed their support for Erdogan. © anp.

Several Turkish television stations, like the private Bengü Türk TV and Samanyolu TV, S Haber TV, Bugün TV, Kanaltürk TV and İMC TV, which all could be received in Belgium, were taken off the air by the state-owned Turkish Satellite Communications Company (Türksat) early on Tuesday due to financial problems amid increasing government pressure on critical media.

Lots of Turks living in Belgium and the Netherlands blocked the Facebook page that had as title “Nederland mijn vaderland“, “Netherlands my fatherland” or “Netherlands my homeland”.
According spokesman Thomas van Elst, who also wants to create a party close to the PVV, users reported the page to Facebook for its anti-Erdogan messages, though there is nothing heavy opinionated. He said

‘We believe that supporters of Erdogan reported to us en masse, allowing a program behind Facebook to automatically take the Facebookpage offline.”

Van Elst then lodged an objection on Facebook for all posts on Friday, including those of Turkey being removed. The page therefore came back online on the 19th of July. Van Elst thinks himself that the media coverage has played a major role.

“Netherlands my homeland” has recently become the largest nationalist internet forum in the Netherlands. The page was established in 2005 on the then-popular social networking site Hyves and has over 250,000 likes on Facebook. In the past year one of the founders of the website was in the news because he was behind the tailswing event for Sylvana Simons. This former presenter has joined the political movement “Denk” (“Think”) or Kuzu Group Öztürk the political party founded at the end of 2014 by Tunahan Kuzu and Selçuk Öztürk.

Seleuk Ozturk (left) and Tunahan Kuzu (right) speak to the media, November 2014. (Image source: NPO video screenshot)

Although their party, Group Kuzu/Ozturk, has not yet been entirely defined, its creators describe it in sweeping terms as “the party the Netherlands longs for,” aimed at promoting “a society in which everyone is treated equally.”

Criticism and Freedom of speech

Several actions of certain Turks, with Belgian nationality as well, are contrary the Belgian and European way of freedom thinking inclusive Freedom of speech and Freedom of religion.

After the failed coup Friday in Turkey, Erdogan is pointing to Fetullah Gülen, as responsible. Gülen is an authoritative mainstream Turkish Muslim scholar and liberal Islamic thinker of  the Kurdish Sunni Muslim Nurcu movement in the Sufi tradition. He established many K–12 schools, universities [a.o. the Islamic University of Rotterdam (Islamitische Universiteit Rotterdam, also known by its acronym IUR, a vocational university founded in 1997], and language schools around the world inspired by his thinkings. Because of his powerful business position and having somewhere between 3 million and 6 million Gülen followers — or, to use the term they prefer, people who are “inspired” by him, he is eyesore for Erdogan and many Erdogan fans. Envy makes many not trusting his organisation.

“This tendency has long been underway. The Gülen movement is criticized for many things, and even terrorism. But never anything could be proven ,”

“Haatcampagne al langer bezig”said Islam teacher Bahattin Koçak spokesman for Fedactio, a Turkish association associated with the Gülen movement.

He regretted that the coup is put in their shoes.

“Even more, democracy is absolutely sacred to us. So we are one hundred percent against any coup.”

Tensions running high

Is it perhaps because the Gülen movement is based on the Sufi tradition following one of the great charismatic religious personalities of the late Ottoman Caliphate and early Turkish Republic, Said Nursî (1878–1960) that so many Turkish people declare their hatred against them? His Risale-i Nur, disdained and sometimes banned by the Republic, nevertheless became the basis for the formation of “reading circles” — geographically dispersed communities the size of small towns that gathered to read, discuss, and internalize the text and to duplicate it when it was banned. Nurcus tend to say, roughly, that the Risale-i Nur is distilled from the Koran; non-Nurcus often find the claim inappropriate or arrogant.

Tensions between supporters of Erdogan and those of Gülen are running high. Supporters of Erdogan already came on the Belgian streets, making lots of noise and making amok, now already for five days.

Big problem is that many Turks living in Belgium believe the Turkish leader Erdogan who since Saturday is working on a “purge” calling his opponents the

“cancer that has affected the entire Turkish state” ,

a virus that has to be expelled.

Last weekend the office of Fedactio was pelted with stones and is it in Beringen – where with the Gülen sympathizers association Vuslat is active – for several days in a row restless. It looks like the battlefield of Turkey, though it may be over in Turkey, continues in our regions. It is incredible how much hate comes out of the mouths of those who are allowed to live in this state of free spirits where everybody may say what he thinks and where so many nationalities and religions are allowed to live together in peace.

Knowing where to live and where to belong

Clearly those Turks, who might also have the Belgian nationality, seem to forget where they live. Perhaps they better make the choice in which country they want to live and under which conditions.

Like Koçak says for those Turks living in Belgium

“The divisions in the political sphere is therefore never been greater.”

His impression

“Either you’re for Erdogan, either you are an enemy of the state.

We want to act like nothing better to come to a dialogue with the supporters of Erdogan, but that’s just not possible. The other side does not want to listen, even if we want to reconcile.”

The Turkish Embassy in Brussels believes that the Flemish government must do research into the financial flows in the Gülen movement and related organizations in Flanders.

“Then they will be found ‘paravents’ , screens were behind the terror lies.”

said spokesman Veysel Filiz on July the 19th in the Gazet van Antwerpen.

According to the Turkish government, it is that movement led by Gülen, which did the coup attempt last Friday. The spokesman of the embassy said

“They are terrorists, without more, like IS and the PKK.”

The (Erdogan-) Turks are against all those cultural centres, schools and companies of that movement in Belgium because

“All these so-called socio-cultural associations, schools and companies form a network that serves to raise money for the movement. Who support the Gülen movement, directly supports terrorism.”

It is known that Gülen organizations have good relations with European governments.

“And certainly with the Flemish government and Prime Minister Geert Bourgeois,”

says Veysel Filiz.

“They can sell themself well. Two years ago they even wondered if Gülen could not be relocated to Flanders, at their centre in Beringen, as the US had wanted to extradite him.”

Whilst the Turkish President Erdogan yesterday continued relentlessly the witch hunt against Gülen sympathizers in their own country, there grew a deeper divide in Belgium between the Turks who are pro-Erdogan (the majority) and Gülen sympathizers.

Through social media or just on the streets is called to boycott shops and businesses of Gülen supporters. The Limburg Governor Herman Reynders suggested the day before yesterday, after crisis meeting that it should cease and that hate-mongers will be followed by the police. Antwerp remains calm, but prominent Gülenfigures complain that they have been disowned, driven away and threatened.

The mayor of Beringen said that it has been made clear that Erdogan will ask for the extradition of Gülen-supporters [without Belgium being specifically specified]. Nevertheless, by 18 July 2016, there had been no requests by the Turkish government to Belgium for the extradition of persons related to the coup d’état. Newspaper articles claimed that Belgian governments would not simply consent to each extradition request.

Denying any involvement

Gülen roept Washington op om elke vraag tot uitlevering af te wijzen

Gülen calls on Washington to reject any request for extradition – Photo AFP

Muslim preacher Fethullah Gülen, former ally of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, asked the United States, where he resides, to reject extradition requests by Turkey. Turkey has sent Tuesday four documents to the US that would prove the Gülen involvement in the failed coup in Turkey. But Gülen keeps denying any involvement in the coup attempt.


Military Coup in Turkey


Amsterdam, far away from Istanbul, and not at all in Turkey


The Coup in Turkey brought in Rotterdam hundreds of people on their feet. On the night of Friday to Saturday supporters of Turkish President Erdogan went on the streets to show their support. On Westblaak and Churchillplein they gathered with Turkish flags and drove around honking cars. They shouted slogans and sang the Turkish national anthem. The Rotterdam Councilor Nida Nourdin El Ouali gave a spontaneous speech:

“We have a message to Prime Minister Rutte We want him to take distance from this illegal coup.


Several Turkish organizations from Rotterdam reacted on Monday evening to consult with each other and with Moroccan-born mayor of Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb. The aim is to keep the peace after the failed coup in Turkey last weekend, with over three hundred dead. The same as in Turkey itself again tensions builded up between Turks themselves in the Netherlands (Belgium & Holland). Rivalry is especially felt between supporters of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and followers of the Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen.

In the past the mayor already said Muslim immigrants who do not appreciate the way of life in Western civilisations can ‘f*** off’.


EU foreign ministers arrived in Brussels, on Monday morning, to hold meetings alongside US Secretary of State John Kerry. They are expected to discuss EU-US relations, the situation in Turkey and the attack in Nice, among others.



Reference articles


Preceding articles

Turkey a wolf in the sheep house of the European Union

Turkey witnessing a surge in xenophobia

Is Turkey attempting to resurrect the Ottoman Empire

RIA Novosti: The West’s Turkey Problem

Bosphorus bloodshed

Mountains of information, disinformation and breaking away


Additional reading

  1. Growing rift between observant parents and their children
  2. The sin of partiality


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About Marcus Ampe

Retired dancer, choreographer, choreologist Founder of the Dance impresario office and archive: Danscontact-Dansarchief plus the Association for Bible scholars, the Lifestyle magazines "Stepping Toes" and "From Guestwriters" and creator of the site "Messiah for all". - Gepensioneerd danser, choreograaf, choreoloog. Stichter van Danscontact-Dansarchief plus van de Vereniging voor Bijbelvorsers, de Lifestyle magazines "Stepping Toes" en "From Guestwriters" en maker van de site "Messiah for all".
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