Can Erdoğan finish off the Gülen movement?

Mahir Zeynalov
Mahir Zeynalov


Date posted: February 4, 2014

MAHIR ZEYNALOV

The Western media has falsely portrayed the recent developments in Turkey as the latest chapter in the power struggle between Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and influential Turkish cleric and scholar Fethullah Gülen.

The correct picture is as follows: Erdoğan, motivated by his ever-growing hunger for power, is trying to subdue a civil society movement that doesn’t obey his every whim. He ruthlessly attacks the Gülen, or Hizmet, movement to finish it off. In other words, this is not a power struggle but a one-sided attack by an increasingly authoritarian leader on a civil society movement critical of the way government rules the nation.

In this asymmetrical fight, the Hizmet movement has nothing to lose. It is composed of individuals who are dedicated to doing something that they believe is for the good of humanity. Gülen, the head and inspirational cleric of the movement, has declared that he is ready to relinquish control of every kind of facility, including a wide network of schools, that is run by members of the movement. “The goal is that they continue providing services to the nation,” Gülen said, in remarks illustrating that the movement doesn’t desire power through the facilities they run.

Having said this, it is evident that the Hizmet movement cannot lose the battle, simply because it has nothing to lose. Erdoğan can certainly make things much harder for members of the movement, but this is not something unprecedented in the movement’s 50-year history.

Those watching the ongoing troubles understand that they’re next in line once Erdoğan is done with the Hizmet movement. Erdoğan’s unceasing desire for more power has set in motion a train of events that eventually will make Turkey one of the most authoritarian states of those with pretentions to modernity. The most dangerous part of the process is Erdoğan’s exploitation of religion that makes many believe that this is nothing but a fight for Islam. One wonders how slandering and insulting other Muslims could be regarded as a Muslim way of behavior.

There is a useful saying in Turkish: The candle of someone who lies burns only until midnight.

Source: Todays Zaman , February 4, 2014


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