Will the AKP lose votes in disagreement with Gülen movement?

Emre Uslu
Emre Uslu


Date posted: November 24, 2013

AKP officials have not find any convincing argument that will convince conservative people that the government is not punishing the Gülen movement, a movement that has touched many lives among the conservative people in the heartland of Anatolia.

For the last two weeks, Turkey has focused on the prep school issue. As you all know, the government has made a controversial decision to close privately run prep schools in the name of education reform.

Several debates emerged from this decision. First, there is the question of whether or not the government has the right to close private companies. Liberal democrats rightly argue that passing a law to close down an entrepreneur’s business is against the logic of liberal economy and liberal democracy. As long as a person pays taxes, he/she has the right to open a business in any legal area and the government has no right to prevent them from opening that business and no right to shut the business down once opened.

Is the Ak Party government punishing the Gülen movement?

The second debate is concerns the real intention of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government. The real goal of government is to punish the Gülen movement. Although the government rejects such allegations, it is very likely that the real purpose of the government is indeed to punish the Gülen movement, because there are several areas in which the movement disapproves of what the government is doing.

First, the government’s problematic relations with Israel were a source of disapproval from within the Gülen movement. They think that Turkey should not be in conflict with Israel because the Gülen movement thinks that conflict with Israel moves Turkey away from the West and draws the country closer to Iran, Russia and the Middle East, which they don’t want to see.

Second, the Gülen movement has declared its concern about freedom of the press, limitations in Turkish democracy and stopping the progress toward EU membership.

Third, the Gülen movement has a disagreement with the AKP’s approach to the Kurdish question. The movement has concerns about the expansion of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) influence over the Kurdish population and not guaranteeing Kurdish rights to ordinary Kurds.

These are the three major areas on which the AKP government and the Gülen movement disagree. Given the fact that such disagreements with the Gülen movement weaken the government’s approval ratings with the conservative masses in the heartland of Anatolia, the government wants to silence the criticism coming from the Gülen movement.

It is a typical attitude for the government to silence the opposition through various forms of punishment when government officials think that the criticism hurts them in any way. For instance, veteran journalist Hasan Cemal and many others were punished because they were influential figures who had voiced criticism of the government.

The Koç Group is under heavy scrutiny because the group opened its hotel to the Gezi protesters.

Many artists and TV producers have been punished and their productions cancelled because they supported the Gezi protests against the government.

The Gülen movement is just one of the most important groups that faces this threat of punishment. The movement had given its full support to the government until this year. Without that support, it wouldn’t have been so easy for the AKP to govern Turkey in the early years.

Because the Gülen movement’s critical support is now in question after the recent confrontation with the AKP government, many wonder whether the AKP government will lose votes in the upcoming elections.

The AKP officials think that they will not lose votes over that because they think that they are reforming the education system and that the reform will provide an equal opportunity for the poor to send their children to private prep schools to prepare for the national exams as the rich have done, and that the poor people will vote for the AKP.

However, many political observers disagree with such claims. They think that the intended reform could seriously harm the AKP government because the AKP officials have not find any convincing argument that will convince conservative people that the government is not punishing the Gülen movement, a movement that has touched many lives among the conservative people in the heartland of Anatolia.

More importantly, the conservative people have now, for the first time, directly faced the authoritarian side of the AKP government and they don’t want to see such a government. Previously, when the government was putting pressure on liberals and neo-nationalists, such pressure did not directly affect the everyday lives of conservative people. This time, however, conservative people in the remotest corner of the country have seen the direct impact of the authoritarian face of the government. Thus, it could indeed make the AKP government lose some votes. Yet no one knows just how many votes they will lose.

Source: Today's Zaman , November 24, 2013


Related News

Global peace as a dream to follow

BEGÜM BURAK* Every dream can come true if we have enough courage to follow it. Peace has always been a dream to catch; however, it has always been almost impossible to provide peace and order. Let alone world peace, no single community can fully have peace. From the very beginning of history, the war between […]

Radio Sweden exposes Turkish Gov’t tracks down regime critics in Sweden, threatens to take wives as hostages

Sweden’s official radio station, Radio Sweden, has documented that Turkey’s government is trying to identify and track down supporters of the opposition Gülen Movement in Sweden. In a conversation, a Swedish Gülen supporter is threatened that there would be reprisals if he did not give some concrete information on Gülenist activity in Sweden.

Saving the soul of Turkey [amid the graft probe]

In terms of fundamental rights, Erdoğan does not tolerate any dissent or critical media at all. He publicly bashes reporters, labeling them traitors or foreign agents just because these members of the press corps are exercising their right to freedom of expression. Civic groups like Hizmet are unable to avoid his wrath as well and are easily accused of running “parallel structures” or “gangs” within the state apparatus with no shred of evidence to back these claims.

Fethullah Gülen’s message of condolence for veteran journalist Mehmet Ali Birand

Chairman of the Kanal D News Group and veteran journalist Mehmet Ali Birand, who advocated more freedoms and democracy in Turkey during a career spanning 48 years, has died. He was 71.Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen expressed his condolences in a statement he released on Thursday night, describing Birand an exemplary journalist who didn’t compromise […]

Gülen says arms, swords have no place in Hizmet’s philosophy

Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen has stressed that the idea of pursuing an armed struggle has never had a place in the philosophy of the Hizmet movement

Turkish deputy PM says Fethullah Gülen is supra-political, conscience of 75 million people in Turkey

In an interview with TRT Türk TV channel on Wednesday, Arınç described Gülen as “supra-politics,” and said he is the “conscience of 75 million people” in Turkey. He praised Gülen for only talking truth and recommending right things, even to the opposition. Bülent Arınç met with Gülen last week in his residence in Pennsylvania in a visit he described as “personal.”

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

Persecution In Turkey Left Kids With A Down Syndrome Suffering Tremendously

Education Association Defends Zaman University

4 people trying to escape persecution in Turkey missing after boat capsizes in Evros River

Ramadan Feast: Community Bonding at Its Best from the Turkish Cultural Center

Kyrgyz President Atambayev: Ankara should not threaten us with coup

A new Turkish Cultural Center launched in Kiev

American pastor jailed over Gülen links asks Trump to fight for his release

Copyright 2023 Hizmet News