Operation against the Hizmet movement soon!

Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen
Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen

Date posted: January 2, 2014


The AK Party government sees the corruption probes as a coup launched against it by the Hizmet movement and it has convinced itself that the probes are a defensive move in response to the effort to close prep schools.

Actually, since the prep school issue arose, it has been obvious that whatever happens in Turkey that discredits the government, the movement is being presented as responsible. Again and again the movement has denied links to the investigations, the prosecutors and the police officers involved.

The government seems about to initiate a serious operation against the Hizmet movement soon. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, his deputies and pro-Justice and Development Party (AK Party) outlets have signaled their plans for the operation. Probably by the time you read this, a lawsuit will already have been filed in order to proceed against volunteers with the movement; institutions, schools, universities, foundations and prep schools inspired by it; businesspeople and their companies that support the movement financially and public servants who love Gülen and his ideas. The lawsuit, most probably, will be based on “treason.”

Abdurrahman Dilipak, an Islamist journalist writes at the YeniAkit daily and is an advisor to Erdoğan, stated that the government had allegedly already planned to open a court case and that it had been ready for a year but was postponed because of consecutive unexpected domestic problems (like the Gezi Park events). In January 2014, a large operation with a broad scope will be undertaken, he said. (YeniAkit, Dec. 30, 2013)

Institutions like schools, prep schools, universities and associations that are established by volunteers of the movement are not the primary targets but they will be jeopardized, intimidated and threatened by the state apparatus. Indeed, the real target will be Gülen’s sympathizers in public institutions.

Erdoğan complained last week about Law 657 that designates the duties and responsibilities of public servants because it is difficult to fire a public servant. The law guarantees public servants a post for a lifetime unless severe crimes are committed. Since the Taraf daily published the government’s illegal profiling documents, we know that the government has already taken note of public servants political inclinations and relationships to the movement.

Erdoğan replaced 10 Cabinet members last week after the first probe became public and announced that he is going to start a “War of Independence” with his new so-called war cabinet. The war will be against the US and Israel, outside of the country and their domestic operatives. Erdoğan has insisted that these operatives have cooperated with external powers to topple the government. He meant sympathizers of the movement who are high-level bureaucrats working in the police, judiciary and other official bodies.

Erdoğan and the pro-AK Party media have called these sympathizers a parallel state, a police-judiciary junta, a system of police-judiciary tutelage or civil tutelage, an illegal organization, a political operation, and a coup against the elected government.  Notably, in his almost all of his speeches since the first investigation erupted, Erdoğan has openly propagated the notion of the movement as a treasonous network and its members as spies who work for US and Israel.

The Doğan Media Group was punished with a serious fine in 2007 for its opposition to the government, and the Koç Group was similarly penalized in 2013.

As part of its operation against the movement the government started to use the state apparatus to intimidate business conglomerates that are known as financial supporters of the movement. Yesterday (Dec. 31, 2013), gold mining company KozaAltın A.Ş., the owner of the Bugün daily and Kanaltürk TV station, had its activities in the Çukuralan goldfield halted. The group is known for having a stance that is friendly to the movement. The media arm of the company has been open in its opposition to the government’s authoritarian tendencies and wrongdoings, especially the recent prep school issue and the corruption probes. The company made a press statement announcing that although the mine has all the legal authorization required to operate, it was closed down. It was clearly a politically motivated move to threaten movement supporters.

Government officials have insinuated that Bankasya; a bank owned mostly by movement sympathizers, has acquired illegal profits. Although Bankasya released a press statement refuting the allegations, pro-AK Party media have continuously and explicitly used it as a target. These members of the media say that official inspectors will investigate soon whether the bank had any recent extraordinary profits. (YeniŞafak Daily, Dec. 31, 2013)

Already Erdoğan has presented movement supporters as spies and succeeded in dividing the state bureaucracy, families, friends and neighbors in the country. Unfortunately, this polarization in society is quite dangerous.

An accusation of treason is a grave claim. Unforeseen consequences are likely to be revealed. In 2004, we all witnessed serious wounds being opened in society. We will try to heal the wounds in the coming decades, with or without the AK Party.

Source: Today's Zaman , January 1, 2014

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