Turkey’s greatest service to the Muslim world

Abdülhamit Bilici
Abdülhamit Bilici


Date posted: October 11, 2014

Turkey was a shining star during the years that it implemented democratic reforms internally and improved relations with other countries, particularly its neighbors. Both the West and the Muslim world were watching Turkey’s progress intently and its economic success and democratic transformation would be referred to as exemplary.

This appraisal, which was never imagined before, was the result of sympathy for Turkey’s policies. People with Islamic identities were at the helm of Turkey, but they were not pursuing Islamist goals. They were attaching importance not only to the relations with the Muslim world, but also to the country’s bid to become a full member of the European Union. When they looked at Turkey, foreigners saw not the Taliban’s Afghanistan or a country like Iran but a democratic, developed country which was self-confident and at peace with its identity and seeking to become a respected member of the modern world.

Not only the Arab media, but also Western media outlets were teeming with articles praising Turkey’s democratic transformation, dubbing it the “silent revolution.”

Turkey’s success was all the more significant in that it had come in the wake of the great shock from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks which were claimed to be conducted in the name of Islam. This success was not the work only of politicians, but Turkish schools — which are run by Turkish entrepreneurs inspired by the ideas of well-respected Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen — charitable organizations, Turkish soap operas and Turkish civil society had played their part. Major capitals were voicing the hope that Turkey’s modern, constructive and democratic interpretation of Islam would set an example for the entire Muslim world.

In my opinion, the biggest contribution Turkey made to the Muslim world which was suffering from dictatorship regimes, poverty and ignorance, and to the world which was in the grip of Islamophobia largely because of certain Islamic actors which obscured the luminous face of Islam — such as the Taliban, al-Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) — was to set a good example in economics, rule of law, democracy, constructive diplomacy, human rights and anti-corruption, etc. This policy proved rewarding for the country as it boosted the country’s image both in the Muslim world and the West.

It would be better for everyone if we maintained this policy, but we were blinded by a premature arrogance. Then, we jettisoned the goal of using the EU criteria as a reference and benchmark, although those criteria were the main driving force for democratic transformation. We thought we had nothing to learn from them. We started to tell Europeans what they should do and even made fun of the economic crisis they were suffering from. We saw the Court of Accounts, which had been strengthened in the fight against corruption, as a nuisance and a stumbling block. Then the judiciary, which had been reformed in 2010, appeared to be a burden. We created pro-government media outlets and started to control others using taxes as punishment or assigning pro-government figures to manage them. The society was divided into “us and them.” Anyone who dared criticize these developments were labeled traitors, and dissident businessmen and bureaucrats were profiled.

In our domestic policies, we started to see ourselves as a regional and even global power that could regulate the region. Instead of humbly establishing good relations with all countries, we became a country that took sides or meddled in the domestic affairs of those countries, accompanied with overly assertive statements. For instance, we said that the Syrian crisis is one of our domestic issues. We wouldn’t allow the massacres of Hama and Homs in the 1980s to be repeated. The Baathist regime would fall in a couple of weeks. We would solve Iran’s nuclear issue. We would go to Gaza and put the Middle East into shape, acting as a strategic partner with Egypt.

But we ended up as follows: Bashar al-Assad is still in power. A total of 160,000 people died in Syria. Hama and Homs were demolished. Small terror states were established right next door. We have 2 million refugees. Our prestige in Egypt is zero. We have left Libya completely…

For an objective description of how we are performing at home, you may have a look at the latest EU Progress Report, which is concerned with press freedoms, fight against corruption, judicial independence, etc. Those who don’t trust Europeans may lend an ear to the following message by Constitutional Court President Haşim Kılıç, who prevented the closure of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) back in 2008: “The ever-increasing hatred and hate speech in Turkey worries me. The resulting climate of fear affects journalists as well. We must fight for fundamental rights and freedoms. Journalists should resist. They should not give up.”

If we want to help ourselves and the Muslim world, it is obvious what we should do. We Muslims don’t need weapons or heroism, but rather a success story that combines democracy, justice, morality and welfare.

Source: Today's Zaman , October 10, 2014


Related News

Ruling AKP officials downplay tension with Gülen movement

The tension between the government and Gülen’s movement (also known as the “Community,” “Cemaat” in Turkish, or “Service,” “Hizmet” in English) has escalated after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced plans to abolish private examination prep schools, many of which were financed and run by Gülen’s followers. The tension has recently peaked, with Erdoğan describing the group’s objection to his government’s plans as “a smear campaign.”

Turkey Should Protect All Prisoners from Pandemic

Terrorism may sound like the gravest of offenses, but in Turkey, the government misuses the charge for political ends. Many inmates are placed in lengthy pretrial detention or sentenced without evidence.

Prep school owners write to Constitutional Court

The Constitutional Court will review a law that seeks to shut down preparatory schools that assist students in studying for the national high school and university admission exams after organizations representing private prep schools wrote to the court, asking to make statements about the problems that might arise due to the closure of these institutions.

Are Turkey’s torture chambers back?

In the wake of the 2016 coup attempt, torture and abusive and degrading treatment are again becoming the norm in Turkish prisons, rather than the exception, Turkish news site Diken said on Tuesday.

AK Party gov’t treats critical letters, columns as ‘treachery’

In an attempt to defame the Hizmet movement inspired by Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, the Turkish government and its media outlets have presented letters sent by civil society representatives affiliated with the faith-based movement to foreign officials providing them with information about the situation in Turkey as “treachery.”

Alevi associations react against halt of mosque-cemevi project

Several Alevi Bektaşi Associations affiliated with the Federation of Alevi Foundations (AVF), which together represent 600 cemevis and 300 local Alevi community associations, have strongly condemned the refusal by Ankara’s Mamak Municipality

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

Turkey’s Main Opposition Party Reiterates In Report July 15 Was ‘Controlled’ Coup Attempt

Police raid Gülen-inspired prep schools in Erzurum

UN to Turkey: Free and Compensate Gulen-linked Detainees

Dr. Reuven Firestone Interviewed by Muslim Turkish Movement “Hizmet”

Parliament Speaker Cicek visits Turkish School in Kiev

What are The New York Times and the International Herald Tribune after?

Renewed attempt to target firm close to Hizmet exposed

Copyright 2023 Hizmet News