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

AKP deputy: “Imprisoned Gulen supporters and PKK members will be massacred by furious mobs”

Another dirty AKP plan was revealed by AKP deputy Huseyin Kocabiyik. Kocabiyik in his Nov 13th tweet revealed the plan. “Assassinations will be staged against statesmen and furious people will hang all imprisoned PKK members and Hizmet supporters,” he said. “This is what is spoken among the public,” he tweeted.

Erdoğan’s African mission and dismantling Turkish schools

How do Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s repeated calls for the closure of Turkish schools located on the African continent, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa, serve Turkish national interests? It appears that in his fight against a “parallel structure,” which he equates with institutions and people inspired by the faith-based Gülen movement, also known as the Hizmet movement, the current Turkish president is losing a sense of direction.

Turkey’s Crackdown on Businesses Sparks Concern

The Turkish government crackdown that followed the failed July coup is expanding to businesses, with the assets of major multibillion-dollar conglomerates seized, along with hundreds of smaller companies.

Albanian lawmakers reject Erdoğan’s call to close Turkish schools

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s call for the closure of Turkish schools in Albania unleashed a swirl of debate in the Albanian political and media landscape, leading to intensified pressure on the government to clarify its position and Education Minister Lindita Nikolla saying that the government has already shut down a number of schools regarded as unfit according to criteria set in a recent education reform.

Preventing Disease: Turkish charity donates 22 wells to Pakistan

Turkish charity Kimse Yok Mu – that translates to “is anybody there?” – has dug 22 wells in Pakistan to help people meet their needs for better access to water. Droughts, a lack of infrastructure and internal conflict have made many sources for clean water inaccessible in various parts of the country. The charity has […]

Child of purged victim in Turkey says: I was 14 months old when my dad jailed

The child of a man who was arrested as part of a Turkish government crackdown on dissent following a failed coup last July said in a message on a piece of paper that “I was 14 months old when my father left.”

Latest News

This notable Pocono resident has been living here in exile since 1999

Logistics companies seized over Gülen links sold in fast-track auction

That is Why the Turkish Government could Pay 1 Billion Euros

ECtHR rules Bulgaria violated rights of Turkish journalist who was deported despite seeking asylum

Fethullah Gülen’s Message of Condolences in the Wake of the Western European Floods

Pregnant woman kept in prison for 4 months over Gülen links despite regulations

Normalization of Abduction, Torture, and Death in Erdogan’s Turkey

Turkey’s Maarif Foundation illegally seized German-run school in Ethiopia, says manager

Failed 2016 coup was gov’t plot to purge Gülenists from state bodies, journalist claims

In Case You Missed It

Niagara Foundation Nebraska bestows Peace and Dialogue Awards

Turkey calls on parents to report Erdogan critics at German schools

Ishak Alaton: Fethullah Gülen is the most “other” in Turkey

Erdogan’s Turkey: ‘You are either with us or you are terrorists’

GYV gathers politicians, diplomats at iftar dinner in Turkish capital

Fethullah Gülen writes for Politico Europe: Muslims have a unique responsibility in fighting terror

Mothers meet in İstanbul to mark Mother’s Day, see their children

Copyright 2021 Hizmet News