Lack of tolerance and democracy


Date posted: September 10, 2013

BÜLENT KENEŞ

It is not a prerequisite for democracy that everyone share the same ideas, culture, beliefs, or lifestyle, living together in unqualified happiness.
A society in which everyone shares the same ideals, interests, ideas, lifestyle, culture, language and beliefs appears to be a more totalitarian than democratic one.

Rather, what makes democracies meaningful and precious is that they allow diverse beliefs, cultures, ideas, expectations, lifestyles and sensitivities to co-exist. For this reason, the definition of true democracies has long included the attribute of “pluralism.” An administration that fails to embrace all the colors and diversities of society and is unable to adopt a fair and egalitarian approach to them, of course, cannot be accepted as “pluralistic.” In this regard, such administrations are not democracies.

Despite decades of democratization efforts and tragedies suffered in the process, Turkey, unfortunately, falls short of being a mature society in terms of tolerating its diversity, which is essentially an asset. Even more than this, we witness incidents of intolerance in every sphere of life. Social groups who entertain divergent ideas on sports, foreign policy, religion, education or any social issue have long been failing to demonstrate tolerance and restraint.

………..

The same applies to reactions to the joint mosque-cemevi project to be built in the Mamak district of Ankara. I wouldn’t expect this project — masterminded jointly by Fethullah Gülen, a well-respected Turkish-Islamic scholar, and Professor İzzettin Doğan, the head of the CEM Foundation representing Alevi citizens — to produce violent reactions from certain social groups. This is a well-meaning initiative, seeking to create a model for coexistence with the utmost respect for the Sunni and Alevi communities at a time when all sorts of social fault lines are running deep. The hostility to which this project has been subjected is incomprehensible. Of course, people may nurture different ideas and approaches concerning this initiative. They may freely voice those ideas and criticisms. But why do they attempt to derail it through violence and threats?

Those who, in the political arena, in civil society organizations and in the media, seek to heighten tensions and polarizations can be expected to undermine such modest efforts to decrease divides. But these subversive moves can hardly be seen as legitimate or acceptable. It is not surprising to observe that those who are against the joint mosque-cemevi complex project — which intends to restore the culture of coexistence between Alevis and Sunnis after it has been undermined by past and recent tragedies — are actually radical groups from both camps. Thus, the radical Islamist publications that are the paragons of religious fanaticism plaster the project with inconceivable accusations, while the literature of radical leftist groups that see Alevism not as a faith, but as material for their marginal ideologies are offended by this symbolic peace effort. Well-organized marginal groups including some deputies from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) weren’t content with intellectual opposition, but also resorted to physical violence.

Even a well-meaning initiative does not have to be supported by all social groups. No-one can be forced to stand behind it. It is virtually impossible to please everyone in a society consisting of so many diverse groups. Therefore, it is time for us to review our common denominators. It is not an easy task to expand our common denominators without enforcing conformity, which is not a favorable thing; so, what we must do is improve our capacity for tolerance and mutual respect. Everyone, particularly government officials and political leaders, will have to develop a space for tolerance so that pluralism, which is the outcome of respect for diversity, can be the founding stone of our democratic maturity.

Source: Today's Zaman , September 10, 2013


Related News

Wedding gifts will help build dorm and water wells in Tanzania

Ubeyd and Nurefşan Yeşil donated the gifts presented at their wedding to the Hizmet in Tanzania. Almost $40,000 value donation will be used in the construction of a college dormitory and water wells.

Suspicious raid against Hizmet-affiliated highschool famous for its success

The raid came just two days after Turkey’s Student Selection and Placement Center (ÖSYM) announced the results of the Higher Education Entrance Examination (YGS), which revealed that students from Gülen-inspired schools are among the top scorers of the exam, casting doubt on the objectivity of the raid.

AK Party VP Sahin: We can only be grateful to Hizmet people

Vice President of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party), Mehmet Ali Şahin remarked on the relations between AK Party and the Hizmet Movement (Gulen movement) in an interview*. Şahin said, “Is it possible for us to have any issue with the people performing such activities? We can be only grateful to them. We […]

WaPo publishes editorial from Fethullah Gulen on the day Erdogan meets Trump

If nothing else, the timing of this is certainly interesting. Yesterday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived in Washington for his meeting with President Trump scheduled for later today. It’s an encounter which I already described as problematic at best, given Erdogan’s new status as a strongman and tyrant, and it doesn’t seem to hold the promise of much benefit on our part.

Media freedom in Turkey takes another blow

On Dec. 25, Mahir Zeynalov sent out two tweets. “The first tweet contained a link to a news report about the second wave of a massive graft operation and how police blocked a raid involving more than 40 suspects, including Saudi businessman Yasin al-Qadi — listed as a specially designated terrorist by the United States,” Today’s Zaman reported Jan. 31. Zeynalov’s tweets are no longer present on his Twitter account. “’Turkish prosecutors order police to arrest al-Qaeda affiliates, Erdogan’s appointed police chiefs refuse to comply,’ read the first tweet. In the second tweet, Zeynalov shared a news report detailing al-Qaeda suspects’ escape from the country after police chiefs blocked the raid on Dec. 25.”

Police raid schools in Diyarbakır where locals go on strike in protest of recent gov’t practices

Police officers and inspectors carried out raids on a number of schools inspired by the faith-based Gülen movement as part of a government-led operation against the movement in southeastern province of Diyarbakır, where people have gone on strike in protest of the government’s recent practices in the province.

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

Mother of 5 children abandoned in parking lot released on high bail

Our three-month ordeal in Turkey’s maximum prison -Nigerian students detained over coup saga

African firms signal increased trade at TUSKON meeting

78 detained for raising money for post-coup purge victims

Nine-year-old beats 25,000 others in Maths competition

Anatolia in Los Angeles

Fethullah Gulen’s books draw large interest in Sweden

Copyright 2022 Hizmet News