Speaking to reporters in Parliament on Saturday, AKP deputy Bulent Turan was responding to criticism from opposition parties accusing the AKP government of enforcing decrees during the ongoing state of emergency merely to silence dissident voices. “We won’t stop hunting [dissidents] merely because of criticism that there is witch-hunt [against dissidents],” Turan said.
Popular daily columnist Hayko Bağdat called for a halt of the witch hunt against Hizmet and expressed the need for tolerance for all social groups in Turkey.
Such movements, especially if they’re Muslim, attract suspicion in the West. In 2008, the Dutch government began investigating Hizmet. Its conclusions were that the movement isn’t involved in terrorism or a breeding ground for radicalism, nor does it oppose integration of Muslims into secular states. In 2015, MLK’s alma mater, Morehouse College, awarded its Gandhi King Ikeda Peace Award to Gülen for his lifelong commitment to peace among nations. But Erdogan insists that Gülen is a terrorist.
It was July 15. And what was happening, they soon learned, was a military coup. Gulen, who suffers from diabetes and heart disease, was distraught, Simsek said. Realizing “we couldn’t really do anything,” Simsek said, the group began to pray, loudly and together. Several wept. They didn’t stop praying until early the next morning.
The Justice and Development Party’s (AK Party) efforts to undermine the largest aid organization in Turkey, Kimse Yok Mu (Is Anybody There?) reached a new level with alleged preparations to dissolve the board of the organization and appoint a trustee instead, although no legal grounds exist for such a move.
First of all, though it is not a major issue, none of us believes that Gulen was behind the coup. It is convenient for Erdogan to blame his principal opponent because it will facilitate the arrests of any and all opponents not linked to the actual coup by claiming that they are Gulenists.