Gülen endorses reform package, appealing for ‘yes’ on Sept. 12 referendum

M. Fethullah Gulen
M. Fethullah Gulen

Date posted: August 2, 2010

Well-respected Turkish intellectual and scholar Fethullah Gülen has said a constitutional reform package that is to be presented to a public vote on Sept. 12 contains crucial amendments for the future of Turkey, calling on everyone to vote “yes” in the referendum.

In his latest weekly speeches broadcast on the herkul.org website, Gülen responded to a question on the Sept. 12 referendum and explained why one should say “yes” in the public vote.

Stating that political concerns should be left aside when deciding on the changes, he said the package should not be viewed politically but be evaluated from a perspective on “what would it bring to the nation.” “There are crucial changes in that package for the future of our nation. The package should be supported from this perspective, and ‘yes’ votes should be cast with such an intention,” Gülen said. Underlining that everyone, including Turkish citizens living abroad, should say “yes” in the referendum, Gülen said, “I wish we had a chance to raise the dead ones from their graves and urge them to cast ‘yes’ votes in the referendum,” as he highlighted the importance of voting in favor of the changes.

On Sept. 12 the nation will vote on a number of constitutional changes approved by Parliament in May. Among other things, the reform package includes changes to the structure of the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK). Furthermore, the package repeals Article 15 of the Constitution, which gives immunity to the generals responsible for the Sept. 12, 1980 coup.

Noting that the public vote is an important step toward Turkey’s democratization, Gülen said he does not approve of the presentation of the package just as a means to settle accounts with coup perpetrators. “It is wrong to think that the nation will take revenge from the coup perpetrators thanks to these changes because believers never run after revenge,” he said.

Gülen also underlined that his appeal for “yes” in the referendum does not mean that he supports a certain political party. “We are still at an equal distance to every party. We never told anybody to enroll in a certain [political party], attend its rallies and act as its clappers.’ Being distant does not prevent us from voting in favor of someone on issues which we find correct for the fate of our nation. This nation has lent support to anyone who has done a good job — no matter who did it. What is supported is neither the party nor an individual but the actions. …Yes, we distance ourselves from all political parties, but being distant and sending our vote to a place that we believe will carry out right things for the future of Turkey are different issues.”

Source: Today’s Zaman, 1 August, 2010

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