Dialogue advocacy group ‘disturbed’ by Erdoğan’s harassment of Hizmet
Date posted: April 30, 2014
The Alliance for Shared Values (AFSV), an advocacy body that serves as a voice for organizations affiliated with the Hizmet movement in the US, has said it is “deeply disturbed” by what it called Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s “politically motivated attempts” to crack down on law-abiding citizens.The group was protesting Erdoğan’s remarks about the Hizmet movement during an interview with Charlie Rose on PBS late on Monday, in which Erdoğan said his administrations seeks extradition of Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen to Turkey.The AFSV said the demand for extradition of Gülen without any charges is a clear indication of political persecution and harassment. “Such manipulative tactics are common practices in autocratic regimes, not in a democratic country that respects the rule of law,” the group said.The statement noted that Gülen is a “proud Turkish national and a law-abiding US resident” who has devoted his life to democracy, human rights and freedoms.
It added that Gülen and Hizmet participants should be recognized for their service to society and for fostering dialogue and understanding between Turkey and the world. Instead, it said, the Turkish government “shamefully uses false pretense to oppress and harass its own citizens, both within and outside Turkey.”
The statement noted that Erdoğan and his supporters have failed to provide any evidence to justify their accusations despite a months-long defamation campaign and that any evidence introduced in the future will be scrutinized as possibly fabricated.
“While we remain concerned about Erdoğan attempting to take undue advantage of Turkey’s strategic relationship with the US, we place our trust in the US tradition of democracy and the rule of law, and believe that Erdoğan’s move will ultimately be seen as yet another alarming attempt by his government to suppress the freedom of their citizens and silence their critics,” the AFSV highlighted.
“Unfortunately,” the statement concluded, “his actions will only achieve one thing: They will continue to polarize Turkey and isolate the Turkish people from their democratic allies around the world.”
“Yes, I am very pleased,” Annise Parker, mayor of Houston, told me. “The community of Turks, here in particular, are very outward, extroverted and curious in a sense of cultural understanding. I wish the others, too, would be like them. They contribute a lot to our prosperity and future and teach us a lot about where they come from, Turkey.”
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