The student houses of an Islamic foundation known with its criticism of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) will be shut down, the foundation said on May 15.
In a statement, the Furkan Foundation said that the houses in the Çukurova district in the southern province of Adana were ordered to be evacuated until May 20 or else evacuation by force will take place.
It also said that the decision was adopted even though the authorities were notified of the fact that the houses are being used for residence purposes and not as illegal dormitories.
The foundation noted that the decision was adopted after statements critical of the government by the group’s founder and leader, Alparslan Kuytul, who has been urging authorities to reopen mosques for Friday prayers despite the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“Asking for Friday prayers to be performed with precautions is apparently considered to be a crime by the authorities and the anger is taken out on students,” it said.
This is not the first time that the foundation’s houses were shut down. In an operation carried out on Jan. 30, 2018, the foundation was shut down and Kuytul was arrested.
The houses of university students loyal to the foundation were evacuated in an early morning raid on April 5, 2018 over being “illegal dormitories.” The houses were sealed, with students unable to retrieve their belongings for months.
While Kuytul spent 22 months behind bars, the foundation was also sentenced to pay 240,000 Turkish Liras.
According to the foundation, the houses were known by local education authorities to be residential and not illegal dormitories at the time, but the students were kicked out nevertheless.
In the days that followed, the students and their families objected to the decision and the fine was canceled. The houses were also registered to be not illegal dormitories by a court order, so the students were able to return to their homes eight months later.
In its statement, the foundation questioned the motive behind the current order of evacuation, saying that there is a court order that says the houses are residential.
“Is there a disagreement between the state institutions? Doesn’t the Adana Governor’s Office trust the reports of Çukurova District Directorate of National Education?” the statement read.
The foundation will object to the decision.