AK Party, Hizmet movement and politics

Dr. Ihsan Yilmaz
Dr. Ihsan Yilmaz


Date posted: September 2, 2012

İHSAN YILMAZ  August 31, 2012

I have written repeatedly about the relationship between the Hizmet movement (aka Gulen movement) and politics here. Unfortunately, it still needs some more discussion. As is well known, Hizmet never associates itself with political parties.

It is a volunteer movement that appeals to individuals from all sorts of social, cultural, ideological and even religious backgrounds. It is true that its roots are firmly in Islam, but similar to Rumi’s compass, it endeavors to establish critically constructive contact with every single human being on the planet. Its main mission is to build bridges across cultures, communities, religions and so on. Hizmet cannot establish a political party since politics all over the world is mostly based on contention, challenge, belittling the opponents and division. Forming a political party would harm the Hizmet movement.

Yet, that does not mean that Hizmet exists in a vacuum and is not interested in political, legal and international affairs. It has to be. That is how it has survived the oppressive Kemalist decades when practicing Muslims were continually harassed by state officials. The Hizmet volunteers carefully observed and analyzed the political, legal and international developments and devised wise strategies to enable their philanthropic projects to survive. They have worked towards the democratization of the country. They have openly and passionately advocated the EU process since they believed that Turkey could never democratize itself without this external influence. All these were of course political acts. But that does not make them Islamists since, first, they were not engaged in politics in a narrow sense and, second, they have not carried out politics in the name of religion, unlike the practice of the overwhelming majority of Islamists.

Some Hizmet volunteers or donors may be members of all sorts of political parties. I have known several people who are Republican People’s Party (CHP) members but are happy their children are educated in Hizmet schools. Nevertheless, most volunteers, and especially the ones who work for the core Hizmet projects such as the schools, the media, dialogue associations, etc., are never attached to a political party. These people, of course, vote. On election day, based on criteria such as honesty, merit and a pro-democratization stance, they vote for the candidates, not the parties. They are not blind followers of political leaders and their parties, and on the basis of well-known principles, they can criticize the party they voted for.

Unfortunately, some of our friends in the Justice and Development Party (AKP) or its staunch supporters do not want to accept this. Similar to the Kemalists, they ask the Hizmet volunteers not to be critical of the AKP, or else form a political party. The Hizmet volunteers have a legitimate right to be members of political parties or establish any sort of party. The fact that they have not decided to do so does not mean that they cannot be engaged in politics. They are also democratic stakeholders of this society. As fathers, teachers, businessmen and, most importantly, citizens, they have legitimate concerns, aspirations and visions with regard to how this country is run. They are entitled to these and they are entitled to air their concerns. They have a right to pressure the government, lobby it and harshly criticize it. The political parties have to live with this fact. It must also be noted that while the Hizmet volunteers, their media outlets and so on were harshly and legitimately criticizing the AKP’s opponents and enemies, these friends of ours were very content. Unlike now, they did not challenge the Hizmet volunteers to establish a political party and compete in the elections.

Hizmet has not changed its well-known principles, and while some of its volunteers are also supporters and even members of the AKP, some of them, who think that the AKP has lost its democratization energy and has become a status quo party, criticize the AKP. If these people find better alternative parties or candidates that satisfy their criteria, it is their democratic right to vote for them. If they think that the AKP has revived itself again with 2002’s reforming spirit, they will most probably be strong supporters again. It is their own business to form a party or not. Yet, as I said, I do not think that they, at least the ones in the core projects, will do so.

Source: Today’s Zaman http://www.todayszaman.com/columnist-291047-akp-hizmet-and-politics.html


Related News

Fethullah Gülen lost his friend Prof. Toktamış Ateş, an academic, writer, and eminent democrat

HizmetNews.COM January 20, 2013 Turkish Professor Toktamış Ateş, also a columnist with the Bugün daily, passed away on Saturday January 19, 2013. Fethullah Gülen expressed his condolences in a statement he released the same day, describing Prof. Ateş an exemplary democrat in academia and media. Fethullah Gülen: I am deeply saddened to learn about the […]

Gulen movement becoming victim of its own legend

I don’t know whether they are aware of it, but a danger that needs to be taken very seriously awaits the Gulen movement. In the eyes of the Turkish society, which is believing of conspiracy theories, the Gulen movement is mythicized beyond its real dimensions. The power and influence of the Gulen movement is being so exaggerated that if no precautions are taken, this imagined power will one day destroy it.

Chorepiscopus Yusuf Sag: Fethullah Gulen’s service is admirable

Chorepiscopus Yusuf Sag, Vicar General and leader of the Syriac Catholic Church in Turkey: “I wish every country had its own Fethullah Gulen. I watched the students performing at the recent Turkish Olympiads in admiration. They all sang in Turkish like angels. I have to ask: Is it better that they sing Turkish songs or hold guns in their hands?”

EU expresses concern over declaration of Gülen movement as terrorist without due process

Maja Kocijancic, Spokesperson for European Union Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, has responded a question by Turkish Minute, stating that the EU notes with concern the decision taken by the Turkish National Security Council (MGK) to include the movement of the U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen on the list of Turkish terrorist organizations.

The Turkey I no longer know

The Turkish population already is strongly polarized on the AKP regime. A Turkey under a dictatorial regime, providing haven to violent radicals and pushing its Kurdish citizens into desperation, would be a nightmare for Middle East security. I probably will not live to see Turkey become an exemplary democracy, but I pray that the downward authoritarian drift can be stopped before it is too late.

Being partners of the state

The freshly appointed justice minister, using phrases not easily understandable to people in the streets, said, “Neither God nor the state accepts partners.” This statement does not have an Islamic background. Every citizen is a partner of the state. The duty of a government is to perform common tasks in the name of these partners and based on the mandate given to it.

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

KYM Calls for Papers-International Conference on “Social Media for Good”

Micro-Finance and Vocational Training for Empowerment of Women

Visually impaired journalist’s letter shows he can barely survive in prison

PBS airs story on Gulen Movement

Mississippi group, national officials denounce ISIS

Netherlands fires a lawyer from gov’t job due to her role in witch hunt against Gulen followers

Building bridges while breaking bread: Norfolk temple holds interfaith Ramadan meal

Copyright 2023 Hizmet News