Importance of Hizmet’s 11-article declaration

Hüseyin Gülerce
Hüseyin Gülerce


Date posted: August 15, 2013

HÜSEYİN GÜLERCE

As expected, the 11-article declaration by the Journalists and Writers Foundation (GYV), of which Fethullah Gülen serves as honorary chair, has attracted attention.

The follow-up debates show that this has been remarkably positive and appropriate to prevent disorder. The allegations were clearly a plot to attempt to raise a dispute between a ruling party that received 50 percent of the vote and millions of people who volunteered to make sacrifices for the sake of peace, stability and democratization.

Some, in response to the declaration by the Foundation, said: “The allegations were raised on social media; they are all baseless rumors. It was not worth responding to them.” It is not possible to agree with this criticism for two reasons. First, when you remain silent vis-à-vis allegation, slanderous accusations and ungrounded claims, it would be like you actually confirm them. Silence may mean acknowledgement. Second, silence would cause sadness and concerns among the reasonable majority in the ruling party and the Hizmet movement. People may raise their concerns, asking: “What is happening? Why is something not done? Should not something be done to address these accusations?”

The style of the foundation’s declaration is pretty admirable. There is no challenge to the government; there is no attitude of “we are always right and we do not take criticism.” In contrast, the declaration admits that there could be mistakes made because we are human beings; it also stresses that the Hizmet movement is open to constructive criticisms and sincerely thanks those who raise such criticisms.

I believe that what needs to be emphasized in the declaration most is the accusation that has been raised for many years by pro-junta figures during the Feb. 28 process: that the Hizmet movement wants to establish a guardianship over bureaucracy and become a partner in government.

The response to this allegation is a democratic manifesto that needs to be remembered all the time in the years to come:

“In democracies, governments that come to power in the elections are replaced by elections only. However, raising criticisms and recommendations by people and civil society actors between the elections cannot be viewed as meddling with the state administration. The inspection and supervision of the legitimately elected governments is the basic tenet of participatory democracy within the norms held by the European Union where Turkey wants to become a full member. The society exercises this right and performs this responsibility through civil society organizations, opposition parties and free and critical media.”

“Presenting civil society groups that offer some recommendation or criticism as if they are pursuing power or advising them to stay away from politics, form a political party or wait for the elections is not reconcilable with the spirit of democratic system, its norms and values and it is unacceptable.”

“Of course, bureaucrats take (the legal) orders from the elected supervisors and superiors alone and have to comply with these orders. For this reason, if there are bureaucrats who allegedly violate the laws and deny complying with the orders by their superiors, these should be prosecuted or investigated in accordance with the law by the competent judicial bodies. However, if there is removal of figures from some social segments from bureaucratic posts upon slanders of establishing guardianship or becoming partner in the administration, this is in clear breach of the most basic principles of law and democracy.”

In fact, we all know the truth. If we are able to preserve our democratic approach and our principled position, problems will be resolved and misunderstandings will be addressed.

Source: Today's Zaman , August 15, 2013


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