Will Gülen movement become a political party?

Hüseyin Gülerce
Hüseyin Gülerce


Date posted: August 13, 2013

Since the so-called tension between the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and “the Community” is being kept on the agenda, a series of analyses is being made on how the Community will act in the next municipal elections, scheduled to take place in March 2014.

What I mean by “the Community” is the volunteer movement also known as the Gülen Community or the Hizmet movement. I had previously said: “Perhaps we could not express ourselves properly.” My dear friend Ahmet Turan Alkan has taken my expression a little too literally, and suggests I start a new debate asking what was left unknown and undiscussed. But what I was trying to say is that in order to eliminate all kinds of prejudice, we have to express ourselves at every opportunity. Moreover, we should always keep in mind that this prejudice is stirred up if our wording is not proper. Adopting a proper wording, trying to attain people’s love, embrace everyone with love, promoting peace and solidarity, tolerance, forgiveness and dialogue instead of harboring resentment, and respecting all people regardless of their social status are among the principles adopted by the members of the Hizmet movement, including me. Grabbing hold of these principles with both hands will solve all problems.

Ali Bulaç, a sociologist, has said: “Communities are similar to NGOs in terms of three formal requirements: being nongovernmental, being based on the principle of voluntarism, and being autonomous.”

The Hizmet movement always fulfilled these three requirements. It always supported the governments for the sake of the country’s stability and democratization process. This is why the Hizmet movement supported the referendum held on Sept. 12, 2010. However, it never became a rich source of easy votes for any political party or appeared in election squares to support any political party. Members of the Hizmet movement cast their votes as ordinary citizens out of their sense of social responsibility. That is all. They never demanded anything in return for their votes, or bargained with anyone. The accusations that they have a share in the political power and that they are trying to take over the state are nothing but slander. Should we just say “People assume other people are no different than themselves”?

And we need to ask why a movement aiming to take over Turkey would reduce its power in the country by conducting civil society activities in 150 countries. If that had been the case, it would spend its entire time and energy for this purpose. As the Constitution gives everyone the right to elect and be elected, the movement would establish a political party and appear before crowds in rallies. No one can prevent it from establishing a political party. There is nothing to condemn there. But if this movement is made into a political issue, those who look up to this movement will be greatly disappointed.

This is why the esteemed Fethullah Gülen frequently underlines this major threat: “Forget getting a share of political power. We cannot accept control of the world even if it is presented to us on a gold tray because this would create disappointment among those actively supporting our cause. And people would think ‘They’ve also been deceived by the love of position and sense of interest. All these efforts were for the sake of getting a share in the political power’.”

Politics is, of course, an important element in a society. No one who wants to enter politics can be condemned. There is nothing to sneer about. But politics is not the way preferred by people who actively supported his cause. There are so many things that must be done for this country, so why would we let ourselves be distracted by other matters? There is no reason to worry because the Gülen Community will never become a political party in the future. Some members of the Gülen Community may enter politics since to elect and be elected is a constitutional right, but these people cannot be connected to the entire Gülen Community.

Source: Today's Zaman , August 13, 2013


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