Erdoğan now at odds with once-closest ally

The Gülen sympathizers who helped Erdoğan get rid of soldiers from politics and hoped to became unnamed coalition partners in doing so, are now disappointed to see that Erdoğan does not want any shareholders of power alongside himself.
The Gülen sympathizers who helped Erdoğan get rid of soldiers from politics and hoped to became unnamed coalition partners in doing so, are now disappointed to see that Erdoğan does not want any shareholders of power alongside himself.


Date posted: November 30, 2013

Murat Yetkin

Those who have an interest in Turkish politics may have been a little confused for the last few weeks, observing the row between Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AK Parti) government and the social movement of religious scholar Fethullah Gülen, or the “Hizmet” (Service) movement as they preferred to be called. The row is over the closure of private prep schools (“dershane” in Turkish) as a supplement to the centralized high school and university entrance exams.

The government thinks dershanes have turned into parasitic lifeforms and it is necessary to get rid of them in order to have better control over the national education system. However, along with other private investors, the Gülen group has a major share in the dershane system through the private schools they run. It suspects that the government move was actually taken to curb the group’s effectiveness and influence.

Gülen has been one of the Erdoğan government’s closest allies since the AK Parti took power in 2002. Formed as a social grouping promoting the peaceful solidarity of pious, educated Anatolian middle class, the Gülen group became politicized during the AK Parti government period and called on its sympathizers to vote for it in the 2007 and 2011 elections. That had not previously been observed in the group’s history of more than three decades, and came because of its feelings of being targeted by the military as a source of anti-secularist activities. When the military issued a statement against the possibility of then-Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül being elected president (with his headscarved wife), the Gülen group considered support for Erdoğan as a strategic choice for the future of all pious and conservative Muslims.

From that point on, the Gülen support to Erdoğan started to take on different forms. With sympathizers patiently climbing the stairs of hierarchy for years in the judiciary, the police, education and elsewhere in the bureaucracy, the group got into a strategic partnership with Erdoğan against the “military tutelage” over the Turkish political system. The AK Parti’s votes jumped to 47 percent in the 2007 elections (from 34 percent in 2002), and Gülen had a share in this, along with Erdoğan’s economic success and voters’ growing antipathy with the military’s intervention in politics. Many police inspectors (especially in the intelligence branch), prosecutors, and even judges – who played a crucial role in probes and later on in court cases against soldiers in the Ergenekon and Balyoz cases – are claimed to be sympathizers of the Gülen Movement, or the “Cemaat,” (Community), as it is publicly known.

Things started to turn sour in 2011, when Erdoğan got a rare 50 percent support from voters in the June elections. By then, he had already transferred the military intelligence’s eavesdropping devices and facilities to the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) and appointed Hakan Fidan, who he calls his “black box,” as its head. The first wave of purges within the police and prosecutors came during a probe against the head of the Fenerbahçe football club, which according to Erdoğan was also a powerbase. However, the real purge came after a counter-move by Istanbul prosecutors to question Fidan over the MİT’s covert activity to plant agents into the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Erdoğan got very upset and things never returned to normal with the Gülen group, despite temporary “ups” since then. There might be a trust issue between them, too. For example, when Erdoğan told Gülen that he was free and welcome to return to Turkey from the U.S., where he has been living since 1999, Gülen smoothly rejected it, saying that he did not want to cause additional problems with his return.

The Gülen sympathizers who helped Erdoğan get rid of soldiers from politics and hoped to became unnamed coalition partners in doing so, are now disappointed to see that Erdoğan does not want any shareholders of power alongside himself.

Source: Hurriyet Daily News , November 30, 2013


Related News

Political life and NGOs in Turkey: Journalists and Writers Foundation

One of the most prominent NGOs in Turkey is the Journalists and Writers Foundation (GYV). This NGO recently published a statement in newspapers to announce that it does not have an agenda in terms of establishing a political party or appointing others to form a party on its behalf.

Gülen’s lawyer rejects ‘letter of alliance’ to PKK

Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, whose ideas inspired the faith based Hizmet movement, denied claims made by the Sabah daily claiming that Gülen sent a letter of alliance to the PKK

Experts speak on role of digital media in society in İstanbul

The Medialog Platform brought together academics and communication experts from different parts of the region surrounding Turkey in İstanbul on Friday for their second International Communication Conference, to discuss the impact of social media on politics and social movements.

What is the problem between the AK Party and Hizmet?

İHSAN DAĞI Since the government demands unconditional loyalty and the subordination of social forces, the economic, political and intellectual independence of the Hizmet movement from the government seems to be the problem. The state in Turkey remains the central agent capable of and willing to suppress social and economic actors. In the absence of checks […]

International photography contest “Peace at the Frame”

The Journalist and Writers Foundation’s (GYV) Intercultural Dialogue Platform announces its first, annual photography contest. GYV likes to draw attention one more time to the peace, which is need more than ever these days through art of photography .GYV intends to unite everybody who can put the peace at his/her frame with the expertise of the art of photography.

Turkey’s coup attempt & a more intimate view of the Hizmet Movement

Working towards this vision of the world, the Gulen Movement focus primarily in three areas: creating high achieving educational institutions from elementary schools to universities; establishing interfaith dialogue organizations where leaders from different religions as well as public official come together to find and share common grounds at a local and international level; and providing emergency relief in disaster areas around the world.

Latest News

Rhode Island’s latest refugees flee Turkey’s repressive regime

Turkey’s Gulen supporters flee to Greece – BBC World

Pro-gov’t journalist suggests killing family members of jailed Gülen followers

Le Monde: Ankara offered Senegalese government $7.5 million to transfer Yavuz Selim educational group to Maarif

In Greece, Turks tell of lives full of fear in Recep Erdogan’s Turkey

Turkish Police Wait To Detain Another Women Just Hours After Delivery

A battle for power in Turkey faces resistance in Senegal

Turkish family drowned in Aegean Sea while escaping from Erdogan regime

To escape from Turkey, they told their children it was a game

In Case You Missed It

Turkish trade’s center of gravity shifting in TUSKON bridges

Turkey’s first intercultural dialogue center built on trust, offers quality services

What is lacking in democratization package is democracy itself

US Rep. Scott: Gülen movement cannot be designated as “terrorist organization”

The Fountain 100th Issue Essay Contest

Turkey’s permanent state of crisis

CSOs slam smear campaign against Hizmet, call on PM to stop hate speech

Gülen’s lawyers refute justice minister’s statement likening Gülen to Iran’s Khomeini

Erdoğan’s harsh, xenophobic rhetoric damages fight against Islamophobia

Copyright 2017 Hizmet News