Date posted: December 28, 2013
Journalists and Writers Foundation (GYV) Head Mustafa Yeşil said use of ‘parallel state’ argument against the faith-based Hizmet Movement led by Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen is reminiscent of Feb. 28 coup period’s practices, and represents a coupist and discriminatory approach towards certain social groups.
As far-reaching corruption scandal shakes the roots of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government with three ministers resigning from their post over allegations of bribery and tender rigging, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has struck a defiant tone, deeming the graft probe an international plot to weaken his ruling party and Turkey.
With the probe widening, along with the prime minister and government officials, some journalists affiliated with the ruling AK Party, have employed a terminology, labeling the Hizmet movement as an organization within the state, a “parallel state.”
Yeşil strongly denied such allegations, reminding that the mentality that tries to criminalize the Movement is same of the Feb. 28 coup period when the secular establishment backed by the army crippled conservative social and political movements, by sidelining the religion in public sphere.
Yeşil said the Hizmet Movement was also subjected to unfair treatment, tremendous pressure and lengthy trials, based on false allegations of infiltration into state institutions.
“These people are citizens of this state. What are we talking about here when we say ‘these people are trying to establish control over state? These people are citizens of this state and nothing is more normal than that anyone could seek a place within state institutions due to equal rights embedded in Constitution,” said Yeşil when he expressed his outrage in strongest terms regarding the ‘parallel state’ argument.
In the meantime President Abdullah Gül aslo joined discussion when reporters asked his opinion about the issue, Gül denied any existence of an illegal group within state. Commenting on recent corruption scandal that led government officials to ask questions about whether there are parallel structures or gang formations within the Turkish state, President Gül emphasized that there is only one authority in the state and that it acts in line with the Constitution, laws and regulations.
“Individuals working in [public] institutions can freely have their own thoughts, ideologies. They can subscribe to different political trends. These are all legitimate, as long as they [ideology and beliefs] stay outside public and state work,” he explained.
The president’s comments contradict the government’s claim that the corruption investigation has been launched by gangs within state and seeks to oust the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) from power.
Gül highlighted the fact that varied opinions are the standard in modern democratic states, adding that people are free to follow their own beliefs as long as it does not contradict public authority.
Source: Today's Zaman , December 28, 2013