Date posted: November 29, 2013
The Hizmet movement and the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) have arrived at a critical junction in the road.
The main problems that have emerged on the route towards this critical junction are of course not limited to the debates and disagreements surrounding the question of the closure of the prep schools.
The Hizmet movement is an important component of a political movement that has brought great change to Turkey, and which will perhaps go down in history as having led the country for 16 years.
So on the one side, we have a political party, the AK Party. And on the other side, the Hizmet movement, which is a strong civil social movement in possession of vital religious and historical references for Turkey, a movement with lots of its own “political” experience, but which has never actually been a part of the ruling mechanism. It’s a movement that has experienced its own share of oppression through the years as well.
The Hizmet movement’s presence in both written and visual media has worked to boost both peace and democracy over the years; it has played a decisive role in the shaping of the new intellectual and conscious foundations for a new Turkey.
Had the political movement been devoid of support from the Hizmet movement’s influential social support, Turkey’s struggle for democracy would have remained — at least in part — deficient and incomplete.
Despite all this, though, a very different situation is unfolding in light of the closure of the prep schools. And in ignoring the real reasons behind this clash in opinions, the debates continue on what is really only the tip of the iceberg.
On the table now is an envisioned reform which would see the closure of private prep schools after a certain amount of time. But let’s say that this reform were to be withdrawn, even with compromises made on certain aspects to it, it does appear the tension will remain.
It is a reality that the Hizmet movement has been in possession of a different set of ideas from the government when it comes to things such as the Kurdish initiative, the talks with Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan, Middle East policies and even the general diagnosis of the Gezi protests; these differences in opinion have distanced the movement from the same government with whom it had shared a common fate for so long.
This is certainly not the first time in Turkish political life that such a parting of paths has been experienced.
A number of similar partings of ways have been experienced throughout the history of Turkey’s left and right political flanks. That history in itself is one of incredible turbulence. The fact that the debates over the possible closure of prep schools has unfolded so roughly and so politically in style is, in and of itself, indicative of a serious problem.
A recent column from writer Hüseyin Gülerce notes that the move to shut down the prep schools run by Hizmet movement members makes people feel as though hands are at their throats, trying to strangle them. It should never be the role of any government, no matter how right it might be on any issue, to make people feel as though they are being strangled.
If Kurds had felt this way through any of the peace solution process, would we even have that process at all today?
Which is why the policy on prep schools needs to be reviewed. It is now the duty of the government to come up with a policy that does not make people feel as if they are being strangled.
Unfortunately, I cannot examine all the developments strictly through the lens of the prep school question. Personally, despite all these disheartening arguments, what I feel most strongly now is the fragility of the common fate of the elected leadership of Turkey and the Hizmet movement. It was the strength and power of this common fate that changed Turkey, and it was because of the belief that I and many like me had in this union that we were able to face old ideas, and proffer up support for the political bloc created by this common fate and partnership. And now, on the eve of upcoming elections, I am aware of and deeply worried by all the traps and resulting damage that will be made by those waiting to ambush this common fate. I am not someone speaking from “the inside,” but these are my feelings…
Source: Today's Zaman , November 29, 2013