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

University entrance exam results announced, top scorers from Gülen-affiliated schools

Turkey’s Student Selection and Placement Center (ÖSYM) on Thursday announced the results of the Transition to Higher Education Examination (YGS), revealing that students from Gülen-affiliated schools, which have been the target of a government-sponsored defamation campaign, are among the top scorers of the exam.

Kimse Yok Mu’s Eid al-Adha worldwide aid efforts continue

Kimse Yok Mu Foundation gave away Eid al-Adha meat to the needy in Venezuela’s largest slum, Petare, in the capital Caracas. The foundation’s volunteers who reached out to over 3,500 families were well received by the inhabitants. Malian Ministers attended the Eid al-Adha aid event co-organized by Kimse Yok Mu Foundation and the local Malian-Turkish Horizon Schools.

AK Party Deputy Chairman Huseyin Celik: Turkish teachers beat the odds

ALİHAN HASANOĞLU Justice and Development Party Spokesman and Deputy Chairman Huseyin Celik said the teachers of the Turkish schools operating in Northern Iraq beat the odds in the region. Following his official contacts in Erbil, Celik moved on to Sulaymaniyah where he attended the opening ceremony of Private Sulaymaniyah Primary School. In company with Celik, […]

Turkish schools key to success in Africa

It is very pleasing to hear that, just as in Uganda, a prime minister mentions Turkish schools out of the blue and these schools have strong ties to the highest profile officials, as well as to civil society groups and even members of minority religions in those countries. Deputy Prime Minister and State Minister Bülent […]

Dangerous and unnecessary tension

MARKAR ESAYAN Turkey has been experiencing heated tension over the prep school issue for a while. And unfortunately, the discussion was taken out of the educational context and has become a political issue. The Taraf daily, in its recent reports and with the official documents it published, argued that the Justice and Development Party (AK […]

Educational unions lash out against gov’t-backed school raids

As the witch hunt against government opponents continues to grow, a number of education union representatives have criticized the recent government-backed police raids on private schools and educational institutions that are sympathetic to the faith-based Gülen movement, popularly known as the Hizmet movement.

Latest News

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

Turkish Food Festival seeks to teach Greenville about Turkey’s culture and cuisine

Chestnut Retreat Center offers a look inside their Saylorsburg facility and its mission

Erdoğan’s overarching purge is not a road accident

Is Gulen the scapegoat of Ankara crisis?

Post-coup purge in Turkey leaves children parentless after mother and father are put behind bars

In Case You Missed It

What is wrong with the Western media?

Erdoğan’s stance on Turkish Schools turns to hatred after corruption probes

Turkish associations in US condemn Boston Marathon attack

Fethullah Gülen suggests Turkish coup attempt could have been staged

Turkey Bars Entry Of Critics By Adding Their Names Next To ISIL Suspects

Hundreds of young Turkish children jailed alongside their moms as part of a post-coup crackdown

Turkey has not achieved enough democratization for Fethullah Gülen’s return

Copyright 2021 Hizmet News