Islamic scholar Gülen criticizes Turkish gov’t response to Gezi protests

Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen
Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen


Date posted: March 20, 2014

PENNSYLVANIA

Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen has criticized the Turkish government for a police crackdown on protesters during last year’s Gezi Park demonstrations in which a number of people were killed.

“The people voiced democratic demands [during the Gezi Park protests] and, initially, there were innocent protests. These protests could have been tolerated. Officials could have visited the protesters and learned about their demands. Instead, the protests were violently suppressed. Is the shopping center that was to be built there worth a single drop of blood?” said Gülen in his first such remarks about the Gezi Park protests in the fourth part of an interview with daily Zaman.

The Gezi Park protests started on May 2013 as a peaceful demonstration to prevent the construction of a shopping mall in Istanbul’s central Taksim Square and turned into massive protests across the country with the police crackdown.

“Naturally, pressure led to violence and a local issue turned into a national security issue. And the evil networks which were waiting for an opportunity to stir up chaos stepped onto the stage, and we were very concerned at that time,” said Gülen, while denying claims that his movement masterminded the protests.

He urged the importance of toleration and diversity in the society. “We must refrain from treating our differing ideologies and diverse identities as reasons to quarrel or engage in conflict. Everyone must respect diversity. Freedom of speech and expression cannot be restricted. While the views of the majority certainly deserve respect, the views of minority groups should be treated with the same level of respect as well. If you suppress the masses, this will cause friction along social fault lines. And this is such a big risk that no political party can [do that] for whatever political gain,” said Gülen, adding that the government failed to adopt such a view during the Gezi Park protests.

Speaking about the ongoing Kurdish peace process, Gülen said fundamental rights and freedoms “should not be seen or used as a card in the bargaining.”

“At once we must raise teachers who are capable of teaching in Kurdish. This is not something that can be done upon demands from the public. The state must take the first step. In taking this step, we must refrain from words, attitudes and behavior that may give the impression that we are doing this as a favor,” he added.

Gülen also said he had heard of Turkish officials’ efforts to “undermine Turkish schools abroad” which are run by his movement in many countries across the world.

“Unfortunately, this appetite for destruction pushes all fair limits. These schools were established through the great self-sacrifice of the people of Anatolia,” he said.

People from all segments of Turkish society and from all political parties, including the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), have visited some of these schools in the past, said Gülen. “I have not heard even one person say, ‘These schools are harmful, and they should be shut down.’ No rational or political argument or criterion can be employed to advocate the closure of these schools.”

The Turkish government and Gülen Movement are involved in a fierce rift which started late last year when Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan declared his decision to close down private prep schools, “dershanes,” many of which are run by the Gülen Movement. The rift became almost irreversible after Dec. 17, 2013, when a massive corruption and graft probe opened, targeting high-profile figures close to the government. Erdoğan accused the Gülen movement of orchestrating the probe and a plot against the government since then.

Source: Hurriyet Daily , March 20, 2014


Related News

Kyrgyz President Atambayev: Sebat Turkish schools won’t be shut down

We won’t be closing down the Sebat schools,” President Almazbek Atambayev reiterated on July 24 during his annual press conference.

594 Young Children Growing Up In Turkish Prisons

Five hundred ninety-four children under the age of 6 are being kept with their mothers in Turkish prisons, Turkey’s Ministry of Justice said, the Diken news website reported on Tuesday.

Erdogan’s war on education: The exodus of Turkey’s teachers

They were happy when Greek police caught them. “They treated us very well,” Hakan says. “Zehra told us she felt safer spending [several nights] in jail than [she did] in Turkey. She said: ‘The Greek police are keeping us safe from the Turks.'”

CHP leader: PM saving himself by paralyzing constitutional order

The CHP leader said there is a “parallel state” in Turkey, but this parallel state is not the Hizmet movement, a faith-based group inspired by Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, or any other religious group, as alleged by the prime minister. The parallel state is one that comprises the prime minister, several ministers, their sons, bureaucrats and businessmen. “This is a parallel state established for corruption,”

Erdoğan says personally pursuing fight against ‘parallel structure’

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan acknowledged during a speech on Tuesday that he has personally been pursuing a “fight” against the so-called “parallel structure,” adding that his administration is ready to cooperate with district governors to “clear” its members from state bureaucracy.

‘We will not learn how to struggle against corruption from you’

It has already been 10 days that Turkey has been shaking with the corruption scandal that has reshuffled the Cabinet and brought serious international consequences to the country, such as weakening the political position of Ankara in the neighborhood of Syria and Iran and strained ties with the US.

Latest News

Fethullah Gülen’s Condolence Message for South African Human Rights Defender Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Hizmet Movement Declares Core Values with Unified Voice

Ankara systematically tortures supporters of Gülen movement, Kurds, Turkey Tribunal rapporteurs say

Erdogan possessed by Pharaoh, Herod, Hitler spirits?

Devious Use of International Organizations to Persecute Dissidents Abroad: The Erdogan Case

A “Controlled Coup”: Erdogan’s Contribution to the Autocrats’ Playbook

Why is Turkey’s Erdogan persecuting the Gulen movement?

Purge-victim man sent back to prison over Gulen links despite stage 4 cancer diagnosis

University refuses admission to woman jailed over Gülen links

In Case You Missed It

Five new mosque-cemevi projects on the way

Gülen’s contribution to a pluralist democracy

Turkish Day proclamation, celebration planned at Syracuse City Hall

Turkish schools broke anti-black taboos in South Africa, says SA minister

Wife of arrested teacher: I was offered to lie about others in exchange for my husband’s release

Haylamaz: Real Islam should be sought by looking at the Prophet Muhammad’s life

TÜBİTAK official says forced to make changes to bugging device report

Copyright 2022 Hizmet News