Demirkubuz believes that all the “good things” that the government did prior to the 2010 referendum were to guarantee its position, rather than celebrating the rule of law and justice, as evidenced by the fact that the prosecutors who were called heroes yesterday are called traitors today. Demirkubuz urged society to go through an exercise of self-criticism in terms of the preference for power over freedoms.
Kimse Yok Mu was designated a nongovernmental organization in March 2002. It had started its work following a devastating earthquake in Turkey in August 1999. Kimse Yok Mu now reaches out to different regions of the world affected by catastrophes. It is officially recognized by Turkey as an association that works for “public interest.”
The Movement fights against ignorance all around the world, reaches and brings service to people who are forgotten by the governments with their volunteers, and helps enrich their morality with Islam and material worlds with their modern institutions and instruments.
The U.S. has no desire to use Fethullah Gülen, who lives in self-imposed exile in America, as a tool against Ankara, said James Holmes, a former U.S. envoy to Ankara. Ties between Ankara and Turkey might be on the frosty side, but Turkey continues to be an important ally for the U.S., according to Holmes.
A broad spectrum of Turkish people, including Hizmet participants, supported AKP for democratizing reforms, for ending the military tutelage over politics and for moving Turkey forward in the EU accession process. We have always supported what we believed to be right and in line with democratic principles. But we have also criticized what we saw as wrong and contrary to those principles.
Allegations previously dismissed by judicial authorities are being raised again. People in the bureaucracy are being profiled. Officers have been removed from their posts in some ministries. Furthermore, mayoral elections are scheduled for March, and campaigning is becoming tenser.
“The issue is not only about corruption, it is also about the independence of the judiciary and the separation of powers, things at the heart of the democratic regime. There is no democracy without these,” says Haluk Özdalga, who was a member of the ruling party since 2007 until his recent resignation.
It must be realized that religion is a matter for individual citizens. It is likely that the Gülen community will face restrictions and pressure from the government [as the AK Party government’s supporters have accused the Gülen movement of discrediting a number of ministers and their relatives in relation to a recent investigation into alleged bribery in public tenders, which saw the sons of three Cabinet ministers taken into custody alongside construction moguls and bureaucrats]. What we have been defending are universal rights, including the freedom of religion and belief. If these can be achieved, everybody will benefit from them, not just the Alevi community.
The [Hizmet] movement was formed by Gulen’s sermons – he knew how to reinterpret Islam’s moral and ethical demands. It’s not just about continuing traditions, but about exploring nature, seeing God in the laws of nature and the laws of physics and about finding God again.
What does Gulen say? He says: “Work hard and earn money, but be honest. Allah will reward your hard work and honesty. But do not squander that reward. Turn it into an investment and help others.” It sounds a lot like the Protestant work ethic. This is the underlying vision of capitalism. The Gulen Movement looks a lot like the Ottoman-era Ahi movement. It is a kind of a solidarity group that provides people with jobs, education, and reintegration into society.
The Gulen movement has become a global movement. In other words, it is Turkey’s most important export. When you cross boundaries, you have to watch the balance. His statement on the flotilla incident was both domestic and international. However, we must not forget that Gulen does not recommend that people fight those in authority. His statements disturbed both the government and the conservatives in Turkey.
Professor Ori Z. Soltes, author of ‘Embracing the World: Fethullah Gülen’s Thought and Its Relationship to Jalaluddin Rumi and Others,’ explains how Gülen’s perception of Sufism is grounded particularly in the work of thinkers such as Jalaluddin Rumi, Ibn Arabi and Said Nursi, but is also grounded in the idea of selflessness.
Mehmet Gündem: If you were to write a letter or send a message to the Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan, what would you tell him? Fethullah Gülen: “Do not be content with employing consultants only from among the admirers of your party. Do not only speak with your own organizations. Benefit from the wise people who love Turkey; because they act objectively, and seek no personal gain.”