The National Youth Foundation (Milli Genclik Vafki, MGV) (formally known as Union of National Turkish Students) [TUR37631.E]

The National Youth Foundation (Milli Genclik Vafki, MGV), a pro-Islamic association (AP 16 Sept. 2000), reportedly functions as the youth wing of Turkey's Virtue Party (Milliyet 20 Oct. 2000; AP 19 Dec. 1999) and has also been linked to the banned Welfare Party (AFP 19 Mar. 2001; Milliyet 27 Jan. 2001). According to an Associated Press article, MGV often participates in pro-Islamic demonstrations and claims 15,000 members and 35,000 sympathizers (16 Sept. 2000). Reportedly, MGV initially opened branches in Konya, Afyon, Izmir, Aydin, Denizli, Kahramanmaras, Balikesir and Kutahya in 1975 and by the end of 1989 had "officially" opened 53 branches (Sabah 19 Jan. 2001). A 19 January 2001 article reported that MGV had "established branches in 78 provinces, liaison bureaus in 900 towns, and an unspecified number of regional chairmanship offices and service centres without obtaining the necessary permits" (ibid).

MGV is reportedly suspected by the military of being a "haven for fundamentalist activity" (IslamiQ 20 Sept. 2000) and prosecutors have called for the banning of MGV, claiming pro-Islamic activities as the reason (AFP 19 Mar. 2001). A 19 March 2001 article reported that MGV executives were among 22 suspects being tried by the Ankara State Security Court on charges of "trying to topple the state and replace the Constitution with a system based on Islamic principles (Anatolia).

A report prepared by the Turkey's State Inspectors of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, states that MGV received support from the Virtue Party as well as the banned Welfare Party and that they were circulating material supporting the Islamic terrorist organizations, Hizbullah and Islamic Great Eastern Raiders Front (IBDA-C) (Milliyet 27 Jan. 2001). A 63-page booklet entitled "Secondary School Unit" had reportedly been sent to all MGV branches (ibid). The booklet stated that youth should be educated in the "culture of the Holy Koran" and outlined a programme for training Islamic religious personnel to attract and educate youth "on the subjects of holy war" (ibid).

At a press conference, MGV's head stated that "MGV has never allowed terrorism or related elements to pass through is ranks, and it never will" (Anatolia 20 Jan. 2001). He also denied ties with any political party and stressed that MGV would never get involved in political activities (ibid.).

Several articles report the police closing of MGV offices across Turkey (AP 16 Sept. 2000; Milliyet 20 Sept. 2000; Anatolia 27 Sept 2000; ibid 22 Sept. 2000; ibid 21 Sept. 2000). A 19 January 2001 article reported that calls had been made to make the "temporary closure" of MGV a permanent one (Sabah) and MGV Chairman, Ilyas Tongus, stated in a 22 January 2001 article that he had received a document written by the General Directorate of Foundations requiring the permanent closure of MGV's 60 branches (Turkish Daily News).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

References


Agence France Presse (AFP). 19 March 2001. "Turkey Seeks Death Penalty Against Former Pro-Islamic Deputies." (NEXIS)

Anatolia News Agency [Ankara, in English]. 19 March 2001. "Turkey: Ankara DGM Asks Death Penalty for Former Welfare Party Deputies." (FBIS-WEU-2001-0319 19 Mar. 2001/WNC)

_____. 20 January 2001. "Turkey: National Youth Foundation Denies Links with Terrorism, Political Parties." (FBIS-WEU-2001-0120 20 Jan. 2001/WNC)

_____. 27 September 2000. "Turkey: National Youth Foundation Corum Branch Closed." (FBIS-WEU-2000-0928 27 Sept. 2000/WNC)

______. 22 September 2000. "Turkey: National Youth Foundation Branches Closed Down in 6 Provinces." (FBIS-WEU-2000-0923 22 Sept. 2000/WNC)

_____. 21 September 2000. "Turkey: 3 National Youth Waqf Branches Closed in Nevsehir, Gaziantep, Gumushane." (FBIS-WEU-2000-0921 21 Sept. 2000/WNC)

Associated Press (AP). 16 September 2000. "Police Shut Down Offices of Islamic Youth Group." (NEXIS)

_____. 19 December 1999. "Thousands of Turks Protest Russian Attacks on Chechnya." (NEXIS)

IslamiQ. 20 September 2000. "Crackdown on Islamist Groups Continues." http://www.islamiqdaily.com/world/art_wld1_20092000.php4 [Accessed 7 September 2001]

Milliyet [Istanbul, in Turkish]. 27 January 2001. "Turkey: Closure of National Youth Foundation Halts Support of Islamic Terrorism." (FBIS-WEU-2001-0127 27 Jan. 2001/WNC)

_____. 20 October 2000. "National Youth Foundation Said Used by Terrorist Organization." (BBC Summary 23 Oct. 2000/NEXIS)

_____. 20 September 2000. "Turkey: MGV Branches in Four Provinces Closed Down." (FBIS-WEU-2000-0921 20 Sept. 2000/WNC)

Sabah [Istanbul, in Turkish]. 19 January 2001. "General Directorate of Foundations Calls for National Youth Foundation Closure in Turkey." (FBIS-WEU-2001-0121 19 Jan. 2001/WNC)

Turkish Daily News. 22 January 2001. "One Line on the News: Tongus: We Have Never Been Involved in Terrorism." (NEXIS)

Additional Sources Consulted


IRB databases

Europa World Year Book 2000

Political Parties of the World 1999

Resource Centre. Country File

Youth Movements of the World

Internet sites including:

Amnesty International

BBC

CNN

Dawn

European Country of Origin Network

Human Rights Internet

Human Rights Watch

Middle East Intelligence Bulletin

Radio Free Europe

UN News

World News Connection