Purge of ‘parallel state’ or legitimizing discrimination

Date posted: January 20, 2014


Since a corruption and bribery investigation broke out on Dec. 17 shaking the government and forcing three ministers resign, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been talking about a “parallel state” which he claimed is ruling the judiciary and police.

Erdoğan labeled the investigation, which saw leading businessmen and the sons of the three ministers being detained, a “dirty plan to oust his government.”

According to Erdoğan, the “parallel state,” which he had never mentioned before Dec. 17, consisted of members of the Hizmet movement — inspired by Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen. Thousands of police officers, including chiefs, were recently shuffled to lower positions or to other provinces as part of an unlawful purge, without even being given a reason or having any inquiries launched against them.

Another leg of the major purge was in the judiciary. Last week, the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK), which is headed by the justice minister, replaced several members in its first chamber and 19 prosecutors and a judge were removed from their posts by that chamber following the reshuffle. Among those reassigned were Zekeriya Öz, a prosecutor famed for the Ergenekon coup plot trial who was one of the prosecutors overseeing the corruption investigation, and Muammer Akkaş, who was removed from the second phase of the corruption investigation.

Zaman columnist Abdullah Aymaz stated on Monday in his piece titled “These atrocities are not new” that discriminatory practices against religious Muslims are an old habit of the Turkish state. “We were blacklisted for being imam hatip school students in the past. By whom? Those who now astonish everyone with their fatwas. Those who say ‘A piece is to be sacrificed for the sake of the whole,’ referencing the Ottoman sultans who killed their children or brothers in order to prevent them from become caliphs,” Aymaz wrote. The profiling of religious Muslim students who are part of the Hizmet movement caused them to be barred from obtaining high positions such as being academics at state institutions, according to Aymaz.

Bugün’s Tarık Toros wrote about political Islam in his column on Monday. According to Toros, political Islam has a top-down approach and is similar to the ideas of Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini [the leader of the 1979 Iranian revolution], Palestine’s Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. “Political Islam tends to consider religious movements as illegitimate after using it as a form of support on its way up, labeling these movements as ‘servants of Western powers,’ ‘agents of the US’ or ‘Zionist.’ Political Islam expects all elements of the country to obey it once it becomes mature. Those who don’t obey will be isolated. Political Islam claims to rule the country through democracy but after the elections, democracy is under the thumb of the leader. Opposing ideas are called betrayal,” Toros wrote.

Source: Todays Zaman , January 20, 2014

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