Hizmet movement and government

Yavuz Baydar
Yavuz Baydar


Date posted: June 16, 2012

Yavuz Baydar  June 14, 2012

Is it the movement attacking the government, or vice versa? Some believe that it is, some hope that it is, some deny that it is and many others feel deeply concerned that it is.

I tend to belong to the latter camp. It is undeniable that the Hizmet movement (aka Gulen movement) is at odds with the top echelons of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, which is seen as a growing rift over vital issues, and it rings alarm bells for Turkey — and its aspirations for taking the leap into becoming a stable, predictable, reliable, free and prosperous country.

The row, which started brewing soon after the AKP’s victory, has to do with the critical issue of how to deal with solid political power. The entire decade of AKP rule was marked by rather firm political support from a de facto “alliance of reformists,” which included the Hizmet — Gülen — movement, (social) liberals, leftists, moderate right, many Alawites, Kurds and non-Muslims.

The hopes of the alliance did not wane; on the contrary, they manifested as a powerful “reset” in the last referendum on constitutional amendments. They were also demonstrated powerfully in the engagement for drafting the new constitution. Surveys constantly show high expectations for democratization. The AKP’s leadership, in steady contact with opinion polls, is not unaware of this.

This is an agenda that includes an element of morality, as well as a political change. The Hizmet movement, without a doubt the largest, best functioning NGO network in Turkey, has been on the forefront of monitoring the “morality” part of it, based on the wisdom that without leaving behind the old, “corrupt” morality, which was identified with the rigid guardians of the republic, a disease that was the product of the tutelage, Turkey would not be able to renew itself.

The “delivery” since the elections has slowed down, and in particular the Kurdish issue and Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) violence have risen before the government, which has been increasingly inclined towards conformism and arbitrariness. The collective decision-making process has given way to a one-man government and tiresome micro-management. Many critical issues that have to with morality (such as the match-fixing case) were not handled properly, causing a mess, and many other issues, showing signs of “Kulturkampf” (such as abortion), raised eyebrows within the alliance.

The movement’s critical stance towards the government has become stronger, more vocal, more articulate. This is a healthy sign, becoming of a powerful NGO. Indeed, the voices emanating from within reflect the hope and discontent in deep Anatolia and Thrace, with completion of transformation in accordance with the EU norms and the national dialogue as the real base.

This critical stance should continue as a persistent political and moral compass; it will be needed more in the future.   Yet the movement also has to grapple with some justified criticism of itself. The upper echelons of the AKP are not monolithic (as the debate over the Kurds shows) and some views on the movement from that source should be taken carefully, gently and seriously.

We all know the movement has been subjected to massive demonization, and the enemies of democracy now apparently believe they have found the right moment to “shoot at it over the shoulders of the AKP.” Turkey’s biggest problems are human rights and justice. It left its image as the land of torture behind long ago, but the running of its political trials, which all have something to do with confronting the nation’s dark past, has generated serious problems.

This also relates to the way the movement chooses to view certain aspects. While it was obvious from the very beginning that these cases were to define Turkey’s path to normality, the movement lacked consistency in its critical position to monitor shortcomings and procedural failures, often missing the big picture.

Cases like Şener and Şık, Zarakolu and Ersanlı, and thousands of elected local Kurdish politicians linked with the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) are still testing its democratic spirit and respect for freedoms. The KCK case shows how wrongheaded and destructive things can be. The KCK prosecutors’ upside-down methodology should be severely criticized instead of meeting with applause.

Another test has been to what extent and with what intent special prosecutors and courts would use their powers. Even in cases — such as that of the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) — that meant an intrusion into executive powers the movement failed to display its nuanced, critical stand. It turned into a primitive power game.

The rift must end. At least, it should be prevented from further escalation. The country is in a critical phase, its reform process incomplete. With recent movement on the Kurdish issue, such as a rapprochement between the AKP and the Republican People’s Party (CHP) with the promise of a national consensus, marginalizing ultra-nationalism, support is crucial.

Wisdom also tells us that any government that runs into arbitrary behavior fades away, sooner or later. But the largest NGO’s task remains the same: taking each item issue by issue, weighing them on a moral scale, pushing the reform agenda — and staying away from hiding what is wrong.

Source: Today’s Zaman http://www.todayszaman.com/columnist-283569-movement-and-government.html


Related News

İpek Holding chairman denies reports about alleged mansion for Gülen

İpek said the dailies had reported baseless news using imaginary scenarios as though they were facts. İpek said the mansion had recently been renovated as his mother will move in

Conceptual contradictions when it comes to rhetoric about ‘parallel state’

.In the wake of the Dec. 17 corruption operations that took place in Turkey, the government removed and changed such an extraordinarily high number of people from their positions in the police force, the justice system and the national education structure that these changes certainly would not have been possible in a state of law. An attempt was made to see these changes happen within the framework of heavy propaganda about the concept of the existence of a “parallel state.”

Cleric Accused Of Plotting Turkish Coup Attempt: ‘I Have Stood Against All Coups’

“If they ask me what my final wish is,” Gulen added, “I would say the person who caused all this suffering and oppressed thousands of innocents, I want to spit in his face.” When asked if he was referring to Erdogan, he replied: “It can’t be anyone else. He is the oppressor.”

Bosnian Arrest of ‘Gulenist’ School Head Sparks Extradition Fears

The sudden and unexplained detention on Tuesday of a Turkish school director in northwest Bosnia is being linked to pressure exerted by the Ankara authorities.

Separate state and religion

Turkey needs to face the fact that experience gained over the course of almost a century has shown that the marriage of state and religion is detrimental to both. If Turkey is to ever consolidate a liberal and pluralist kind of democracy, state and religion need to be separated, and freedom for believers and nonbelievers alike has to be secured.

Hizmet movement and military coups

İHSAN YILMAZ, Wednesday April 18, 2012 With the democratization of Turkey and the new mentality of the judiciary it has created, prosecutors can now tackle past coup attempts and successful coups, the most recent being the Feb. 28, 1997 coup process. I call it a “process” since the toppling of former Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan’s […]

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

I am the mastermind behind the failed Turkish coup attempt! I am Mr. Gulen’s secret ‘abi’

Yalçınbayır: Turkey has tendency towards institutionalization of bribery, corruption

Can Washington Ever Welcome a Nonviolent Muslim?

Turkish minister: Gülen movement is worse than Nazis

Kimse Yok mu delivers aid in Palestine during Eid al-Adha

Not appearing in the worst selfie in history

Gülen’s lawyer: Targeting overseas Turkish educators breaks law

Copyright 2022 Hizmet News