Separation politics and Islam makes Gülen AKP’s enemy


Date posted: February 4, 2015

INGE POELEMANS / BRUSSELS

“The Gülen Movement is faith inspired in its motivation, but faith neutral in its manifestation.” That is how key speaker Ozcan Keles, chairperson of Dialogue Society in London, characterized the Gülen Movement in a panel discussion on the Hizmet Movement Tuesday in the European Parliament. Vice-president of the European Parliament, Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, had invited him and scholar Ihsan Yilmaz (Fatih University of Istanbul) to both inform the audience about the Hizmet Movement, both answering their questions in a revealing debate.

Not only Keleş’ statement refers to the fact that the Hizmet Movement is an organization open to all kinds of religions and ideologies, it also means that the Hizmet Movement doesn’t want to propagate Islam. “This idea is completely contrary to the path that the Turkish ruling AKP-party has been walking for the last five years,” Yılmaz says. That path has the same Kemalist aim to distinguish ‘good citizens’ from ‘bad citizens’.

Yılmaz explained that after the collapse of the multi-religious and multi-ethnic Ottoman empire, the main goal of the ruling Kemalists was nation building: they tried to create unity by homogenizing the people through media, education, religion… Their idea of the ‘good’ Turk was the concept of the ‘homo lastus’ : secular, Atatürkist and ethnically Turkish. In opposition of the ‘homo lastus’, there were the Kurds, the Alevi’s, the Armenians but also the practicing Sunni Muslims, who weren’t considered as ‘real Turks’ and didn’t get access to state institutions such as the army and the judiciary system. “These people were either non existent or marked as dangerous for the secular establishment of the state”, Yilmaz stated.

Diversity created by God

Due to the promotion of this ideology, a lot of minority groups suffered, especially religious ones. Out of this frustration, new Islamist movements and political parties arose. Yet their program appeared not to be so different from the project the Kemalists stood for: “Islamists on the surface look religious but if you scratch it off, you also see a modernist state centric idea that serves to homogenize the nation and that divides people in good citizens and bad citizens.” The good citizen was no longer the secular one, but the practicing Muslim. All others were excluded from society.

This unifying homogenizing policy is completely contrary to one of the basic ideas of Civil Islam and the Hizmet Movement, which says that diversity is created by God and thus shouldn’t be opposed, as Keleş explained.

When the AKP showed up as a new party, that neither seemed Kemalist, neither seemed Islamist, the Turkish people were hopeful. The other Turkish left-winged and right-winged parties had collapsed and couldn’t give a straight answer to the economic problems the country was dealing with. Yet at the moment of its establishment, not all of the members of the Hizmet Movement were immediately supportive. But when the AKP as the only Turkish party started to strongly support EU-access and the defense of human rights, they didn’t have a choice. Thus, until 2011-2012 around 80 percent of the people volunteering in the Gülen Movement voted AKP.

Homo Islamitus

This all changed when the AKP started to get ever more convinced of its own power. In 2011 it won its third term election, in which it even increased its votes till 50 percent. A new Islamist policy of the AKP was the result. “This made the actual Turkish president and AKP-leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan create his own project of the ‘ideal citizen’, which was no longer the ‘homo lastus’ but the ‘homo Islamitus’,” Yilmaz said. “Erdogan as well used instruments such as the media, religion and education to propagate his idea of the good Turk. This was against the principles of the Hizmet Movement, which has always argued that you can’t use state force in order to educate people to be better Muslims. »

Another problem was the fact that the Gülen Movement was influential in the media: it possessed the largest newspaper Zaman, and had several press agencies such as Cihan. Erdogan wanted to monopolize the media. Possessing nowadays 70 percent of it, he is almost there. This media struggle increased the tensions between Erdogan and Gülen even more.

Yet Hizmet is not the only victim of Erdogans new policy. Also the Gezi-park protests showed a great disagreement with Erdogans will to impose his life style to the people . “The Gezi-park protesters, the Twitter and YouTube users, the Gülen Movement… They are all victim of kemalist-islamist Erdogan”, Yilmaz stated.

It will not be easy for the Gülen Movement to continue to endure Erdogan’s continuous provocations, Yilmaz said. “I’m afraid the AKP will try to provoke the Hizmet Movement, for example by killing some of their main leaders. This way, it hopes that the Movement will radicalize, so it can call the Gülenists ‘terrorists’. We can do nothing more than asking for justice and for our human rights.”

Source: Today's Zaman , February 04, 2015


Related News

Fate of preparatory courses

Zaman’s Hüseyin Gülerce denied allegations that there is tension between the government and Hizmet movement due to government’s steps to bring an end to these preparatory courses, saying that Hizmet does not own all preparatory course schools in the country. What bothers members of Hizmet is that the government has not given a clear or reasonable explanation as to why they are taking these steps, Gülerce said.

Fethullah Gülen: Turkey is being dragged into a civil war

Issuing a press statement following the latest terrorist attack in Turkey on Saturday, Muslim scholar Fethullah Gülen claimed that Turkey is being dragged into a civil war but underlined that sympathizers of the movement sometimes called after him would always remain peaceful no matter how they are treated.

A major scandal by the Mukhabarat state

The voice recordings of four phone calls made to Fethullah Gülen were posted on the Internet at midnight on Monday. As you know, Gülen lives in the US. Those who phoned him are some executives from institutions established and run by the people who are inspired by the Hizmet movement in Turkey. The calls do not have any incriminating content. Rather, one of these unlawfully wiretapped recordings exposes how the Hizmet movement was targeted in a conspiracy by circles close to the government.

Police raid Gülen-inspired schools in Adana despite ministry regulation

The Adana Police Department early on Thursday coordinated with inspectors from several ministries and other institutions to conduct raids on private schools, dormitories and prep schools established by volunteers inspired by the Gülen movement, despite regulations stating that only the Education Ministry may perform such inspections.

Turkish-Arab forum focuses on gov’t oppression on Hizmet

Discussing the recent developments in Turkey and the Muslim world during the “Arab-Turkish Intellectuals Forum” in İstanbul on Tuesday, a scholar from Egypt likened the smear campaign conducted by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan against the Hizmet movement to the suppression of a civic movement in Egypt.

Coup attempt in 2016 was Erdoğan’s Reichstag fire

The failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016 in Turkey and the infamous Reichstag fire in Germany in 1933 had many similarities, with both allowing the leaders of those countries to amass more power to oppress their opposition, journalist Can Dündar said in his commentary for German Radio Cosmo on Thursday.

Latest News

Crimes Against Humanity in Erdogan’s Turkey

Exiled journalist warns of a genocide in the making in newly released book

Vague terrorism charge used to target supporters of the Gülen movement: UN special rapporteurs

ECtHR urges Albania not to deport Gülen follower to Turkey

Woman detained over links to Gülen movement after giving birth

Formerly Gülen-linked schools in Albania face growing gov’t pressure

Exclusive: Turkey, Kosovo violated fundamental rights of expelled teachers, UN body says

Sacked policeman’s grim death sparks debate on COVID-19 data in Turkish prisons

Dissidents of the Turkish government are living in fear in Canada

In Case You Missed It

Young Peace Ambassadors Academy 2015 Graduation Ceremony

UN and OSCE experts deplore crackdown on journalists and media outlets in Turkey

New constitution must bear spirit of Abant

Twitter user apologizes for Gülen ‘traitor’ insult, blames politicians

Another ‘coup suspect’ found dead in Turkish prison, bringing total to 21

Turkish minister: Gulenists are more dangerous than ISIL because they’re well-educated

Are we to wait for our Fethullah Gulen?

Copyright 2021 Hizmet News