There are some people who fail to look at the charges that have been leveled against the detainees in the corruption operation that has touched the sons of three ministers and instead they just speculate about the timing and forces that prompted the operation.
It stinks. This is the bluntest description of what the graft probe has revealed so far… So, regardless of the view of the issue as “Erdoğan vs the Hizmet movement,” it boils down to a battle between moral and immoral, clean and dirty, which is the real story of Turkey in the past 12 years. It was not the Hizmet movement, nor liberals, nor other reformists that brought the AKP to power; it was the average people of Turkey.
The arrest of several people close to the government, including three ministers’ sons, accused of taking significant bribes, has shaken the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government to the core and plunged Turkey into political uncertainty. Whether it is the case or not — the Gülen movement denies it — the timing of the arrests has created the widespread perception that the investigation is linked to the growing tension between the AKP and the Gülen movement, also known as Hizmet.
Veteran Turkish journalist Nazlı Ilıcak was fired on Wednesday from her long-time post at the Sabah daily over a “disagreement on issues,” according to the pro-government newspaper. Ilıcak argued that Erdoğan had been misled by his advisors, leading to prejudices and suspicions about the Hizmet movement.
Everyone is wondering now what is behind the corruption investigation, and the first “suspect” to come to many minds is the Islamist Gülen movement. Tensions between this group and the AKP have been rising over the years, and boiled over recently due to the prep-school issue – a matter that has received wide media coverage.
The Gülen movement denies this but the vitriol flying between daily Zaman, which is close to Gülen, and Yeni Şafak, which is staunchly pro-AKP, is enough to give one a sense of the bitter struggle involved.
Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen has rejected any link to an ongoing corruption probe in which 52 people, including well-known businessmen, the sons of three ministers, and a number of advisors, have been detained as part of a major investigation into alleged bribery linked to public tenders. Gülen strongly denied allegations that the probe was launched as part of a row between the government and the Hizmet movement.
The United States has told Ankara it has no any intention of getting involved into what it calls “a family fight,” denying conspiracy theories suggesting Washington’s role in the ongoing struggle between the government and the powerful Gülen community that has exploded with a new corruption probe. “Please don’t draw us into your family fight here. We don’t want one side or the other to feed this conspiracy idea that we are against the prime minister or against Fethullah Gülen Hocaefendi,”
Radikal’s Cüneyt Özdemir said that even if some people interpret the corruption operation as a manifestation of the rift between the Hizmet movement and the government, it does not reduce the importance and seriousness of the allegations directed against the detainees. “The fact that it involves the general manager of a state-run bank and the sons of three ministers shows us the importance of this investigation,” he said.
Neither Erdoğan nor his bureaucrats could convince the public that their plan was educational, and not an attempt to punish the Hizmet movement. Gül, Arınç and several of Erdoğan’s ministers couldn’t stop Erdoğan, who started a war against the Hizmet movement and even directly attacked Fethullah Gülen by taking remarks Gülen made about the headscarf ban 15 years ago completely out of context.
Take a look at his wedding photo: on one side of a table is Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen and on the other is Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. That photo reflects the feelings of millions. Şükür’s resignation is a sign that to him, that photo was torn up. If the government continues to keep up its hostile attitude against the Hizmet movement led by Gülen, millions will experience the same feeling. The real risk is here.
Mischief-makers continue to work hard. Every objective conscience sees that the Hizmet movement now has to struggle for its rights and to defend itself against some unjust and fallacious accusations, such as that the Hizmet movement has created a parallel state, that it is an illegal organization and that it is even a junta.
Turkish media claimed that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the leader of the AK Party, said, “He [Şükür] resigned on an order [from the Hizmet movement], this is not a decision he can make alone.” However, AK Party spokesman Hüseyin Çelik denied the prime minister had made those comments. “I have spoken to the prime minister, everybody should know that he has not made such a statement,” Çelik said.
Şükür, a former international football player, left Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ruling party in protest against the government’s plan to shut down exam preparatory schools, revealing the intra-party divisions below the surface. The resignation came after Şükür objected to the government proposal to close these schools, which help students prepare for university and high school admission exams.