Gülen: ‘Shame for military to stage coups but not to finish off the PKK’


Date posted: October 24, 2011

24 October 2011, Monday / TODAY’S ZAMAN, İSTANBUL

Renowned Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen has said it is shameful that the Turkish military, which ruled millions of people after staging coups, has failed to bring an end to outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorism despite three decades having passed since it came into existence.

In his latest speech broadcast on the herkul.org website, Gülen expressed his grief over the deaths of dozens of security members during terrorist attacks in the country’s Southeast last week. He also expressed his disappointment over the Turkish military’s failure to end PKK terrorism over the past 30 years.

“As many people know, we are one of the countries with the biggest army and mechanized units in the UN and NATO, to which Turkey is a member. If you want to see what that force and mechanized units can do, take a look at the May 27 [1960] military coup. That force [the military] dominated the people of its own nation and took 25-30 million people hostage. The same force has oppressed thousands of people once in every decade, putting people in jail and sending them to exile. You [the military] used your force to the very end there [in staging coups], you ruled the streets but it is a shame that you have been unable to finish off a group of bandits in the mountains over the last 30 years,” Gülen said.

Turkey has been fighting against the PKK since 1984 when the terrorist organization took up arms for an ethnic homeland in the country’s Southeast. The PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, EU and the United States, has escalated its violence in recent months. Last week the terrorist organization claimed the lives of 24 soldiers in simultaneous attacks in Hakkari’s Çukurca district, the highest death toll in a single attack on the military since the 1990s. In the same week, the PKK also killed five policemen and four civilians in an attack in Bitlis’ Güroymak district.

In his speech Gülen also spoke of measures that should be taken to help resolve the problem of terrorism noting that everyone, including teachers, imams, health officers and administrative authorities, have a responsibility to work on a solution to this problem.

“If only the teachers who were sent to that region [the Southeast] had gone there like the education volunteers who have spread all around the world today with great self-sacrifice and with the belief that they are going to die there and will be buried there. If only we could have sent to that region imams who know very well the character of the people, who read them correctly with empathy and treated them accordingly. … If the administrators of this country, not those 30 years ago but at least those 10 years ago, had taken the necessary measures, the terrorism problem would have been minimized today, if not eradicated,” said Gülen.

In his speech Gülen also spoke of measures that should be taken to help resolve the problem of terrorism noting that everyone, including teachers, imams, health officers and administrative authorities, have a responsibility to work on a solution to this problem. The respected scholar said there should have been courses on Kurdish in Turkey’s schools. “Even schools in the United States offer Turkish as an elective course. Why wasn’t Kurdish offered as an elective course at [Turkish] schools,” he asked.

By education volunteers Gülen was referring to thousands of Turkish teachers who work at schools established by Gülen’s followers all around the world. Gülen is a Turkish Islamic scholar well known for his teachings promoting mutual understanding and tolerance between cultures. One of the world’s most influential Islamic scholars, Gülen topped the list of “The World’s Top 20 Public Intellectuals” by the magazines Foreign Policy and Prospect in 2008. Now residing in the US, Gülen pioneered educational initiatives as well as efforts to promote intercultural and interfaith activities around the world. He has written nearly 50 books in Turkish, some of which have been translated into several other languages.

The respected scholar also said there should have been courses on Kurdish in Turkey’s schools. “Even schools in the United States offer Turkish as an elective course. Why wasn’t Kurdish offered as an elective course at [Turkish] schools,” he asked.

The Kurdish language was completely banned in the country until 1991. Turkey has only just begun to reconcile itself in recent years with the use of Kurdish. For the first time a state-run Kurdish channel was opened in 2009 and private courses offering Kurdish are now being opened.

Gülen said it is impossible to achieve a goal through the use of violence and by killing people. Showing the life of Prophet Muhammad as an example, who was someone who did not cause the slightest harm to the people who oppressed him during the initial years of his prophecy in Mecca, Gülen said the people of the Southeast should be informed about this spirit of humanity so that young people can be prevented from joining in the ranks of the PKK.

“No matter who does it, it is just brutality, murder and tyranny to try to achieve a goal by killing people [and] shedding blood. No beneficial goal can be achieved for humanity through the use of these,” he added.

The Islamic scholar also warned against provocations and said the terrorism problem cannot be resolved through chanting slogans or shouting.

“This problem cannot be resolved by shouting and chanting, ‘Martyrs never die, the homeland is indivisible.’ Those who want to stop this evil should present their criticisms or proposals for a solution to the terrorism problem in fully fledged reports or statements to authorities,” he said.

Gülen pointed to foreign powers behind the PKK and said these powers, which are uncomfortable by Turkey’s growth in the region, are lending support to the terrorist organization.

“The presence of Turkey’s enemies, who are disturbed about Turkey being a balancing power in the international arena and influential country in the region, should not be overlooked. Such enmity used to belong to a group of colonialist European countries. Today, divided, fragmented countries which have established systems in line with their philosophy in our surrounding region and the Middle East are disturbed by Turkey’s growth. We do not know for the time being who is supporting this terrorism. Or from where they obtain the weapons and the means [to carry out attacks]. They [PKK terrorists] are not born in the mountains. Certainly, some power centers aid them in order to bring you to your knees and agree to bargain. A nation facing such a siege should act very carefully and cautiously,” warned Gülen.

Source: Today’s Zaman http://www.todayszaman.com/news-260832-gulen-shame-for-military-to-stage-coups-but-not-to-finish-off-the-pkk.html


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