Gülen rejects labeling of Hizmet as ‘gang,’ calls it ‘traitorous’


Date posted: December 11, 2013

İSTANBUL

Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen has rejected the labeling of the Hizmet movement as a “gang,” saying those who uttered this word committed “traitorous” behavior.

The term gang, “örgüt” in Turkish, has become a famous euphemism in Turkey to denote the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and has a negative connotation.

“Now they are saying things like using ‘gang’ to describe devoted people who came together around Quranic rationality these days,” Gülen said, referring to the Hizmet movement, in a speech published in herkul.org, a website usually publishes his speeches.

Gülen said he doesn’t think Muslims could do this, noting that there is a possibility that some others may use this word to describe activities of Hizmet members in southeastern Turkey “on behalf of Muslims.” He added that he is once again giving the benefit of the doubt.

“With your permission, I will call the behavior of those who say ‘gang’ a traitorous behavior,” Gülen said. He noted that there have in fact been “official gangs” with connections abroad who have become an evil for the Anatolian people, including ones made up of Kurds, Turks, Laz, Circassians and Zaza, for 30-40 years.

Gülen said people with a “dark spirit” are trying to defame “positive things” and that they are “calling us a gang.” He said the Hizmet movement is composed of people of different backgrounds and that they came together due to “rationality” of the cause. He said opening schools, cultural and study centers, providing classes to poor students is a “good service” and that classifying them as a “gang” is not a justifiable behavior.

Gülen also dismissed claims that Hizmet movement is against the settlement process aimed at ending the decades-old conflict between the Turkish state and the PKK, noting that members of the Hizmet movement have launched TV channels, radios, language courses and universities in the Kurdish-populated areas — a direct support for the settlement process. He was referring to radio and TV channels that broadcast in the Kurdish language.

He categorically denied accusations that the Hizmet movement was not supportive of the settlement process, saying that this is an unfair criticism designed to depict the movement as one that has become a stumbling block for peace.

Gülen said another group, referring to pro-PKK circles, has also made the same accusation regarding Hizmet, as if the Gülen-inspired movement doesn’t want the settlement process to move forward. He added that that group wanted to see prep schools shut down so that they could use the vacuum to establish their own dormitories and houses to “speed up the division [of the country].”

“Now, are the things that are done good or bad?” Gülen asked rhetorically, in an implicit criticism of the government for its intention to shut down the prep schools, key educational facilities that block PKK recruitment.

“Future generations and history will remember these wrongdoings with a curse,” Gülen added.

Source: Today's Zaman , December 11, 2013


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