Jan 07 2019

Holland investigates Turkish academic who called for killings

The Netherlands is launching an investigation into a prominent Turkish academic who said in a TV interview that “opponents rebelling against Turkish authorities must be killed,” Saudi-owned news outlet Al Arabiya reported on Sunday.

Ahmet Akgündüz, head of the Islamic University of Rotterdam, made the comment during a November interview with Turkey-based Akit TV, also calling for the death of supporters of exiled Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen, whom Ankara says organised the July 2016 coup attempt.

These “enemies of Turkey should be sentenced to death, even if they are pious,” he said, citing a Quranic verse asserting that it is permissible to kill enemies of the state. “What Fethullah Gülen and his movement did on July 15 is an insurgency against the state, therefore they are aggressors according to Islamic Sharia.”

Dutch Education Minister Ingrid van Engelshoven had earlier threatened to withdraw the accreditation of the university that Akgündüz leads. “These are frightening remarks,” she said. “We are going to have a special committee in order to make what he said clear and to decide how we should comment, but we must wait for the results of the committee’s findings first.”

The Netherlands is home to hundreds, maybe thousands of Gülenists, many of whom have lived there since the 1970’s and 80’s and gained the support of Dutch authorities. In 2016, for instance, a Dutch court barred a group of Turkish parents from calling a school “terrorist” because of its links to Gülen.

This is not the first time Akgündüz has made controversial comments. He had previously called Kurds “dogs”.