Gülen’s views, concern for Kurdish problem nothing new, report shows

Date posted: November 16, 2011

16 November 2011, Wednesday / TODAY’S ZAMAN, İSTANBUL

Contrary to claims that renowned Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen has only just begun to put forward some proposals for the solution of Turkey’s long-standing Kurdish question, a collection of works published in this week’s Aksiyon magazine demonstrates that Gülen has been voicing his views and proposals on the subject since the early 1990s.

In a speech broadcast on the herkul.org website in late October, Gülen expressed his grief over the deaths of dozens of security members in terrorist attacks in the country’s Southeast while expressing his views about what measures should be taken for the peaceful resolution of the Kurdish and terrorism problem.

In his speech, Gülen said there should be courses on Kurdish in Turkey’s schools. “Even schools in the United States offer Turkish as an elective course. Why isn’t Kurdish offered as an elective course in [Turkish] schools?” he asked.

Gülen said it is impossible to achieve a goal through violence or by killing people. Using the life of the Prophet Muhammad as an example, as someone who did not cause the slightest harm to the people who oppressed him during his early years as a prophet 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 the ranks of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (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 tactics,” he added.

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

Following these statements from Gülen, some circles close to the outlawed PKK and Kurdish Communities Union (KCK) launched a defamation campaign against Gülen, misinterpreting his statements as though he were calling for the use of violence against the people of the Southeast, while others interpreted his remarks on the Kurdish issue as being something completely new. A closer look at Gülen’s speeches, books and sermons from the 1990s until today reveals that the Islamic scholar has long been looking for ways to resolve this, Turkey’s most pressing problem.

In an interview with the Zaman daily on Sept. 3, 1997, Gülen said it would be wrong and unfair to attribute the terrorism problem to the people of the country’s Southeast, while noting that fighting terrorism only through the use of force is not productive.

“The state has soldiers there. The military does the things that can be done through the use of force. It is not possible to find reasonable and real solutions to the problems only through the use of force. It is very rare that people who use force can use their sense of judgment correctly,” he said. In the same interview, Gülen also proposed giving several extra points to students from the Southeast who want to study at a university, as a form of affirmative action.

In a speech in 2005, Gülen said it would be wrong to make a distinction between Turks and Kurds in Turkey, as Turks and Kurds have shared the same fate, pains and joys throughout history.

In his book titled “Kırık Testi 5” (Broken Pot 5) published in 2005, Gülen warned that resorting to illegitimate means to fight terrorism in the state’s name would only lead to more problems and turmoil in the country. “The state can fight terrorists; its security forces can kill those who open fire on them in this war because a war has its own rules. However, if a person surrenders to the security forces, the state can never execute him or her without trial. Killing a person who surrenders is against the law. However, unfortunately, there are people in this country who say: ‘I killed the people I was ordered to kill for the order, peace and safety of the state’,” he wrote.

In another speech broadcast in 2007 on the herkul.org website, Gülen talked about the importance of showing love for the people of the Southeast via actions, not only in words. “It is very easy to approach the people of the Southeast with epic statements and say ‘we are all brothers and sisters’ on TV, or on the radio, or in newspapers. … The heroic people of Anatolia have to convince their sisters and brothers living in misery in the Southeast and the East how great their love for them is. People from the West will go to the East and vice versa and they will establish strong relationships with each other. In this way, each group will see the situation of the other. The people of that region are big-hearted,” he said.

Source: Today’s Zaman http://www.todayszaman.com/news-263069-gulens-views-concern-for-kurdish-problem-nothing-new-report-shows.html

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