Mesut Kacmaz – the abducted Turkish teacher

The writer is professor of political science at LUMS, Lahore. His recent book is Imagining Pakistan: Modernism, State and the Politics of Islamic Revival (Lexington Books, 2017)
The writer is professor of political science at LUMS, Lahore. His recent book is Imagining Pakistan: Modernism, State and the Politics of Islamic Revival (Lexington Books, 2017)


Date posted: October 4, 2017

Rasul Bakhsh Rais

The name is a subject itself; he is a benefactor of Pakistan, a friend of our people, and one of the thousands of Turkish teachers who have lived in our country and taught tens of thousands of children over the past several decades. It is the missionary spirit of the Gülen movement that has motivated Turkish teachers to leave their home and live in Pakistan and tens of other countries to give world-class education to children, with disregard to faith and nationality. The central principle of the movement is service to humanity, as the name Hizmet Harketi indicates.

The Hizmet Harketi has played a critical role in the rise of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) of Erdogan and had remained an ally since the 2002 general elections. They have shared a similar ideology on reconstructing the Turkish identity, politics and society embedded in religious conservatism, old social values and Ottoman intellectual heritage. Both have prudently avoided open ideological confrontation with secularism, but have quietly redefined the place of religion in society, if not making it a base of political legitimacy. The alliance worked both ways, in favour of the two groups, one devoted to changing society through politics, and the other by the spiritual values of Islam. Never has this been a clear demarcation, as they had had overlapping worldviews and political interests. They succeeded in replacing the old order shaped by dogmatic secularism run by a coalition of political and military elites.

Last year’s failed coup attempt not only put an end to the alliance but has turned the two former allies into bitter enemies. Actually, the Gülen movement believes the coup attempt was a ‘drama’ staged by Erdogan and used as an excuse to eliminate the influence of Gülen and Hizmet Harketi in the Turkish society. Why? He felt threatened by their position in the media, civil society, the police and judiciary — some of the critical spheres of new power. Erdogan has very successfully used the occasion to systematically destroy the base of the Gülen movement by closing its schools, colleges, universities, media houses and jailing tens of thousands of its followers along with scores of soldiers apparently involved in the coup.

President Erdogan has not spared the Turkish schools and colleges run by the Hizmet Harketi, including Pak-Turk schools in Pakistan. He has applied his influence over the Sharif brothers to get the schools transferred from the Gülen Foundation. He applied more pressure to get the Turkish teachers expelled and repatriated to Turkey, obviously to risk questioning and jailing. Fearing arbitrary arrest, persecution and torture, the Turkish teachers, including Kacmaz, have sought an asylum certificate from the United Nations High Commission on Refugees. This certificate is used universally to seek stay and protection in a foreign country. At the time of his abduction or disappearance, Kacmaz and his family had secured this certificate. The four members of this family have joined hundreds of ‘missing’ persons, leaving much to speculation who could be the agency or a department of the Punjab or federal government taking them into custody.

We hope Kacmaz and his family are fine, and they are not sent back to Turkey against their will where it is certain they would be mistreated. In Turkey today, members of the Gülen movement cannot plead under the principle of presumption of innocence, as they have already been declared ‘guilty’. If not grateful to these teachers for having served our society, at least we shouldn’t push them into harm’s way.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 4th, 2017.

 

Source: The Express Tribune , October 4, 2017


Related News

A Genocide in the Making – Genocidal action stage by stage by the Turkish government against the Hizmet movement

Dr Ismail Sezgin, Director of Centre for Hizmet Studies is questioning if a genocide is in the making in Turkey, exploring the development of a genocidal action stage by stage by the Turkish government against the Hizmet movement.

Purge-victim businessman dies of cancer days after being released from prison

Engin Erol, 41, a Turkish businessman who was jailed three years ago on allegations of membership in the Gülen group, died on Thursday evening in a hospital from cancer, which was not treated properly in the prison where he was held until the last stage of his illness.

Turks threatened over alleged links to the Gülen movement find a safe haven in Greece

When thousands of Turkish citizens lost their jobs or were jailed over suspected links to the Islamist Gülen movement, they chose self-exile to escape persecution.

Current defamation campaign against Hizmet was part of Ergenekon scheme

A major campaign launched by the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government and media organs to defame and discredit the Hizmet movement was among the plans of the Ergenekon network, which once attempted a coup d’état against the AK Party.

Call for respecting diversity to promote peace and harmony

That was the consensus at the roundtable discussion titled, “Respect difference and diversity to foster peace and harmony”, held under the aegis of the Rumi Foundation at a hotel on Wednesday evening.

Opposing the majority

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said his ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) will not back down from its decision to close prep schools, despite ongoing discussion on the matter and deepening polarization over the government’s move. Only 21 percent of people polled support the government’s move, according to a survey conducted by Mak Danışmanlık (Mak Consultancy).

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 Targets Gulen-Inspired Projects Around the World

Tajik president urges Turkish firms to make mining investments

African village named ‘Turkiye’ to show thanks for humanitarian aid

Unbelievably corrupt!

Erdoğan officially declares his despotism

Cyber attacks on news websites threaten freedom of press, expression

Gulen Followers Living in Europe Receive Death Threats, Feel Intimidated

Copyright 2022 Hizmet News