Some readers have questioned why I have criticized AKP but not Hizmet and whether Hizmet is as pure as the driven snow. Here’s my answer:
1) No civil action is free from mistakes and wrongs. To err is human! Only the prophets, who are infallible, are free from making mistakes.
2) Based on this basic principle, Hizmet too surely has mistakes and wrongs. It will go ahead successfully if it reflects on them and draws lessons, today and tomorrow.
3) We can raise two aspects of Hizmet open to criticism. First one is its religious view and its perspectives on Islam and service. And the second one is its social and political attitude. But as it’s about politics, Hizmet’s religious stance is debatable but not by politicians or incompetent columnists.
4) I raised my views and criticisms on Hizmet previously in my book “Religion, City and Community: Fethullah Gulen Experience.” My views are the same. But why I do not criticize it today is because of two reasons: a) I believe that a nationally backed, international operation is at work in Turkey and the Middle East. This operation aims to eliminate Islam’s presence from public space and push it to private and marginal space by force. It has adopted an active role in AKP’s headquarter. It has started its operation with Hizmet and, in no time, the community found itself in the middle of it. It encompasses other religious groups, communities and AKP too. In short, the international powers have gave up on the moderate Islam and been executing a coup against religiously sensitive people via national states. The same has been going on in the Gulf, Egypt and Turkey. b) Accusing Hizmet Movement with the words “You did such and such mistakes” just when it’s about to be slaughtered will be to help the butchers presenting victims to national or global gods. Just like accusing AKP of its past mistakes and calling it to account during the trial in 2007 meant to support its closure. It is the same thing. Covert criticism is fine. It may and should be done publicly too when it’s time. c) It is my moral duty to support Hizmet. This newspaper has enabled me to express my views. I feel obliged to do this. I would do the same if it were AK Party, National View or Risale-i Nur, Suleymanci, Ismail Aga, Iskenderpasa and Menzil groups. I have been by their side through their hard times too. I wouldn’t like to see neither Hizmet nor AKP suffer. A tragic situation, an obvious injustice is in question. We will continue our discussion later.
Published [in Turkish] on Zaman, 07 July 2014, Monday