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

Peshawar High Court Restrains Federal Government From Deporting Turkish Teachers Of Pak-Turk School Till Dec 1

The petitioners submitted before the court that Pak-Turk schools had been imparting quality education to hundreds of Pakistani children. They said that the forced deportation of Turkish teachers and other staff members was illegal as they had been provided protection under the Constitution.

Erdoğan gov’t supports Iranian contest while obstructing Turkish Olympiad

While Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been attempting to obstruct the Turkish Language and Culture Olympiad, his government has been supporting a similar competition to be held in Tehran in August 2014.

Rule of law(lessness) in Turkey?

It turned out that I was overly optimistic, for I did not want to believe that a prime minister who bravely fought the old, authoritarian establishment in the people’s name for years could have changed so much, adopting just the same behavior we were subjected to in the past. I had thought that those bitter experiences were only a distant memory. Unfortunately, I was wrong — terribly so.

Kosovo’s Parliament supports commission to probe deportation of six Turks

Kosovo Parliament has on Tuesday voted to establish a commission to investigate how and why six Turkish citizens, suspected of being members of Fetullah Gulen movement, were arrested and deported to Turkey.

Atyrau Kazakh-Turk High Schools celebrates its 20th anniversary

Ayhan Özcimbit It was exactly 20 years ago on August 25th in 1993 when Mr. Suleyman, Ali and I arrived in the city Atyrau -formerly known as Guryev- located off the Caspian Sea. The provincial education department official, Ms. Jayla greeted us with flowers and then we moved in an apartment in the neighborhood Avangart. […]

Turkey dismisses another 330 academics, brings total to 7,316

A total of 330 academics were dismissed in a new government decree, issued on Tuesday, bringing the total number of academics who lost their jobs after a failed coup on July 15 to 7,316.

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

Turkish schools in Romania awarded with certificate of excellence

“These schools are cultivating future’s prominent Malians”

Turkish minister: Gülen movement is worse than Nazis

President Fox speaks about Fethullah Gulen and Gulen Movement

Teaching Peace in Schools

Woman with soft tissue tumor held in Ankara prison for 8 months: report

Turkish American Society of Ohio Seeks to Foster Friendship and Understanding Between Cultures

Copyright 2022 Hizmet News