The AKP, Gülen and Feb. 28 coup

Dr. Ihsan Yilmaz
Dr. Ihsan Yilmaz


Date posted: November 29, 2013

İHSAN YILMAZ

The Taraf daily uncovered a secret national security document which revealed that the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government in 2004 signed on to a planned crackdown on the Hizmet (Gülen) movement.

As Today’s Zaman reported on Thursday: “The Taraf daily published a document on Thursday prepared by the National Security Council [MGK] on Aug. 25, 2004, persuading the government to implement a series of measures to curb the activities of the Gülen movement. It advises the government to adopt legal measures that would impose harsh penalties on Gülen-affiliated institutions. …The MGK decision urges the Foreign Ministry, Interior Ministry and National Intelligence Organization [MİT] to closely monitor and report on the activities of the Gülen movement at home and abroad. It advises the government to instruct the Interior Ministry and Ministry of Education to investigate and monitor schools affiliated with the Gülen movement and report their activities to [the Prime Ministry Monitoring Council] BTK. The document states that the government must ensure that the financial activity of Gülen-affiliated businesspeople be monitored thorough the Finance Ministry’s Financial Crimes Investigation Board [MASAK]. The MGK wanted the Ministry of Education to investigate Gülen schools as well. … The document also comments on the psychological aspects of an operation against the Gülen movement, describing the use of defamation tactics.”

I do not think that the AKP government has ever implemented this plan. I am very sure about this. The movement did not have any threat perceptions from the AKP government, especially between 2002 and 2011. Nevertheless, we all know that the AKP was not in control of several institutions up until 2011 and that these state institutions had not only created trouble for the Hizmet movement but the AKP as well. I am not sure if these state organs such as the army, several of its intelligence organizations and MİT have ever put into force the document signed by the Recep Tayyip Erdoğan government. It is likely that they (Ergenekon, etc.) could use this document to prove their innocence in court. In any case, that’s not my main concern here in this piece.

Whenever members of the Hizmet movement criticized the AKP, AKP supporters have always attacked them by alleging that Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen supported the Feb. 28 coup and pointing out that Gülen had called on the Necmettin Erbakan government to resign amid huge military and pseudo-civil society pressure. It is impossible to get these AKP supporters to understand that the Erbakan government signed a document during the Feb. 28, 1997 MGK meeting and then prepared an action plan that was signed by ministers. These documents dictated finishing off imam-hatip schools and all private schools run by “religious” groups and it is no secret that they were primarily aimed at the Hizmet movement. Erbakan, in his own way, was trying to take a conciliatory approach and would most probably have never implemented these MGK orders. But, we, including most people in Erbakan’s party, were concerned that the army could stage a direct coup.

As a result of all this, Gülen encouraged Erbakan to resign and call for early elections. This would serve three purposes. First, the Erbakan government would not have to implement such ridiculous anti-democratic orders that would amount to shooting himself in the foot. Second, he would be able to prevent a coup. Third, he would democratically challenge the army and the nation would be able to decide on these issues. This approach was again taken by Gülen during the April 27 e-memorandum crisis; it is a well-known secret that the Erdoğan government was shocked and was clueless about what to do that first night and that Gülen encouraged them to challenge the army and call for early elections. The AKP duly did so and increased its votes from 34 percent to 47 percent.

My question to the AKP is this: You keep accusing Gülen of being a coup supporter simply because he feared a coup and tried to prevent it by calling on Erbakan to resign and call for early elections. But, when it comes to you, you argue that you feared a coup in 2004 and thus tried to appease the army by signing the document behind closed doors. Who is pro-army and anti-democracy here? I have no further questions.

Source: Today's Zaman , November 29, 2013


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