Government [in Turkey] replaces military in defamation tactics

Lale Kemal
Lale Kemal


Date posted: December 2, 2013

LALE KEMAL

A Turkish daily’s publication last week of a secret document dated to August, 2004 has sent shock waves through Turkish politics, which is becoming increasingly polarized ahead of the three elections Turkey will undergo before 2015.

The secret document in question, published by the liberal Taraf daily, was about the once-infamous National Security Council’s (MGK) advice on what the paper described as discrediting Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, who lives in Pennsylvania, and curbing the activities of the Gülen-inspired Hizmet movement.

The Turkish public has often heard of secret documents, mainly disclosed by Taraf, which were signed by the military-led secular establishment that was once in power. These documents were intended to keep democratically elected governments weak in order to maintain the status quo. But what makes the latest MGK revelation highly problematic is the fact that the document was signed in 2004 by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government, which had itself been targeted by the military on the grounds of its anti-secular ideology.

The MGK’s advice to pressure the Gülen movement was given in 2004, a year after the council was changed from a military-dominated structure whose decisions were assertive, thus governments were obliged to implement them, to a system where governments are not obliged to enforce the decisions.

However, despite some structural changes to the MGK in 2003 which civilianized the institution, it was too early then for civilian governments to stand up to military pressure by refusing to sign the decisions made at MGK meetings. Then it was the generals’ strategy to ambush the AK Party, which came to power in Nov. 2002 and which they saw as a threat to Turkey’s secular establishment, by forcing it to sign a document that proposed action against an Islamic group, namely the Hizmet movement. The AK Party had received strong backing from both the Hizmet movement and some liberals, although it has since parted ways with both.

In contrast with the perception of the formerly military-led and fiercely secular establishment, the Hizmet movement has a positive influence, both in the world through its contemporary schools abroad and inside Turkey, in promoting moderate Islamic views and thereby bypass extremist organizations.

Ironically, the AK Party government, which Taraf revealed had signed an MGK document vowing to combat the Gülen movement, faced the danger of being closed down in 2008 when it was tried on charges of infringing the country’s secular character and supporting the Gülen movement. The closure request failed, as only six of 11 judges ruled in favor, with seven required to pass; however, 10 judges agreed that the AK Party had become “a center for anti-secular activities,” causing state funding to the party to be cut.

In the meantime, AK Party officials have not denied that the government signed the MGK document, but they insisted that they never put the suggestions outlined into force, which concerned how to finish off the Hizmet movement and its activities. Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç has dismissed the document, saying the government never implemented any of the prescribed policies.

However, the Taraf daily published further documents on Nov. 1 and 2 which reveal that the government has actualized at least part of the MGK decision. The AK Party classified, profiled and monitored a number of educational institutions in some way linked to Hizmet, as well as bureaucrats at various institutions assumed to be linked to the movement, which may have resulted in the loss of their jobs.

It appeared that the AK Party, at the time, was under serious pressure from the politically interfering military to sign an MGK document that proposed a smear campaign against some its own citizens. But putting these suggestions into action has caused a serious blow to the AK Party’s credibility.

For a long period, when the military tutelage system was still strong, many Turks, Turkish Kurds, Alevis and Christian minorities were subjected to defamation and smear campaigns initiated by the then-strong military and its civilian supporters from every walk of life. Now the MGK document leaked by Taraf demonstrates that the AK Party, which had itself been the victim of smear campaigns by the fiercely secular segment of society, has taken up the military’s role in conducting psychological warfare against its own people. This is a pity.

According to recent opinion polls, the AK Party is still strong enough to defeat its weaker rivals in the local and national elections which will run until 2015. The issue at the moment, however, is Turkey’s regression under AK Party rule, despite the fact that the party was a savior in its early years of governance, enforcing many reforms to democratize the country.

Source: Today's Zaman , December 2, 2013


Related News

Understanding the Hizmet Movement in Nigeria

I will start on high-note. The Hizmet movement is not a cult. The participants of the Hizmet movement are not terrorist. The Hizmet movement philosophy does not encourage any form of violence, let alone coup plotting. The Hizmet movement is anchored on love, tolerance, and peaceful co-existence.

Why didn’t Chuck Hagel visit Turkey?

The government took new measures to prevent the graft probe from proceeding, in an attempt to create the public perception that the corruption allegations are the making of the Hizmet movement and its alleged foreign collaborators. For instance, a new measure introduced by the government to tighten control over the Internet, including powers allowing the authorities to block websites for privacy violations without a court decision, is part of a campaign to prevent news related to the corruption scandal from being disseminated further through the Internet.

Is Nigeria now a part of Turkey?

These are indeed interesting times in Nigeria. The Turkish Ambassador to Nigeria Mr. Hakan Cakil is the Prime Minister of the Turkish Nigerian republic. Yes, he is for he recently called on the Nigerian government to close 17 Turkish schools in the country. That was quite audacious, and deserving of a backhand slap by my three-year-old son.

Turkey’s Global Anti-Gülen Crusade Puts Tbilisi in Diplomatic Bind

Mustafa Emre Çabuk is out of prison but not out of trouble. The Turkish national, who for the past 15 years ran a Gülen school in the Georgian capital, Tblisi, is the latest international educator caught up in Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s anti-Gülenist campaign.

Ayse Bohurler says International Herald Tribune misquoted remarks on Gülen movement

22 April 2012 / TODAYSZAMAN.COM Ayşe Böhürler, a founding member of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party), has said her remarks on the faith-based Gülen movement were misquoted in an International Herald Tribune article last week, denying statements that were highly critical of the movement and attributed to her by the paper. “It […]

Islamist vs. Islamic

The followers of Gülen have opted to vote for and support various center parties freely. Moreover, their support has never amounted to partisanship. Rather, they have tended to back specific policies and the political parties that placed greater emphasis on democratization, demilitarization, transparency, accountability, fundamental rights and freedoms and economic stability.

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

This is beyond a witch-hunt – Turkey now blames Gülen movement for 9/11 attacks

RTÜK issues fines to intimidate Samanyolu TV

Gülen condemns Paris shootings, says all forms of terror deplorable

Gulen movement participants have been serving in Iraq Kurdistan for 19 years

Bulgarian student wins Turkish Olympiad song contest final

Pakistan admits they secretly deported Turkish family wanted by Erdogan govt

“ISIS — A terrorist group making false representation of Islam,” says Turkish Muslim scholar Fethullah Gülen

Copyright 2022 Hizmet News