Keyword: Democracy

Erdoğan’s propagandist think tanks

Erdoğan’s government coming after the strongest civic group, the Hizmet movement, in Turkey is not an isolated incident but rather fits a pattern of how Erdoğan defines democracy and how he handles nongovernmental organizations in the country.

Profiled lawyer files criminal complaint against MİT, MGK

Taraf began publishing a string of confidential documents suggesting that the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government and MİT had collected information on a large number of individuals through 2013 at the request of the MGK. The targets were reportedly members of the Hizmet movement, a faith-based community inspired by Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen.

AK Party Deputy Hakan Şükür resigns due to hostile moves against Hizmet movement

Hakan Şükür, a Turkish member of parliament and former international football player, quit Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ruling party on Monday in protest at a government plan to shut down prep schools, revealing underlying intra-party squabbles. İstanbul MP Şükür said he was personally offended by what he called “hostile moves” against the Hizmet movement led by Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen.

Turkish Education Ministry engaged in profiling of staff, daily claims

The Taraf daily published a number of new documents on Monday that showed the Ministry of Education has profiled its staff based on their ideological and religious backgrounds. The documents, which date back to September 2013, suggest that ministry personnel who voiced criticism of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government and who are members of religious or faith-based groups were “noted” in official communiqués.

Alevis demand equal citizenship, disappointed with the state

SEVGİ AKARÇEŞME, ABANT/TURKEY At the end of the three-day Abant Platform meeting on Alevi relations with Sunnis, one of the fragile fault lines of Turkish politics, Alevis raised their voices higher, demanding equal citizenship against the backdrop of several past and present disappointments with the state. The pursuit of the end of discrimination both at […]

Alevis voice unease over lack of promised rights at Abant meeting

Alevis have expressed at Abant meeting their uneasiness over pro-government comments claiming that the Gezi Park protests were an “Alevi uprising,” warning against a “dangerous approach that encourages wrong perceptions.” The title of this year’s Abant Platform, which started on Dec. 13, was “Alevis and Sunnis: Searching for Peace and a Future Together.” It was organized by the Journalists and Writers Foundation (GYV), a group affiliated with the Gülen Movement.

Post-Kemalist but still illiberal Turkey

Many, including myself, expected that the defeat of Kemalism by a broad coalition of liberals, democrats and conservatives under the political leadership of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) would lead to a democratic regime in Turkey with a liberal constitution. Yes, Kemalism is dead but its state-centric, Jacobin and illiberal sprit has been reincarnated in the ruling AK Party. The similarities in the attitude and the policies of the AK Party and its Kemalist predecessors are striking.

Middle East’s Struggle for Democracy: Going Beyond Headlines

Last month, when Hizmet representatives criticized the government-proposed legislation that calls for banning exam prep schools, Turkish and Western journalists labeled this opposition as a feud between Prime Minister Erdogan and Mr. Gulen because roughly 15-25 percent of these prep schools were founded by Hizmet participants according to various estimates. But that is an oversimplification.

EP says Erdoğan’s ‘treason’ accusation ‘totally unacceptable’

Two of the most senior politicians of the European Parliament (EP) have strongly criticized Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s “treason” remarks against the Taraf daily and its reporter Mehmet Baransu, calling the prime minister’s comments unacceptable. Hannes Swoboda, the leader of the second-largest group in the EP, said he was “gravely concerned” by Erdoğan’s remarks and the subsequent cases filed against the daily and its reporter Baransu.

Alevi problems deeper than they seem, opinion leaders agree

On the first day of the 30th Abant Platform meeting on Friday on the Alevis issue in Turkey, Alevi and Sunni intellectuals and opinion leaders agreed that the problems date back to centuries ago and are more complicated than they seem. The event, titled “Searching for peace and a future together,” brought together representatives of various Alevi communities as well as Alevi and Sunni pundits, journalists and academics in an effort to have a comprehensive debate on one of the lingering problems of Turkish society.

Post-Kemalist Turkey and the Gülen Movement

The Gülen Movement was known for the cool-headed decisions it took at the risk of severe criticism during Turkey’s most difficult times. Today, it would be expected that the same movement will display a similar rationality in a changing Turkey.

Discrimination by AKP government [against Hizmet movement]

Discrimination by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, which argues that it has addressed this issue vis-à-vis religious people, has never been analyzed. The recent row between the AKP and the Hizmet movement refers to an important and interesting fact, because it reveals this reality. In light of these discussions, bureaucrats who have been discriminated by the AKP government because of their views are now talking.

Draft law on state secrets prompts concerns in Turkey amid profiling leaks

The draft bill on what constitutes a state secret in Turkey that brings harsh penalties for disclosure has sparked concerns in Turkey against the background of the revelation of confidential documents that exposed massive government profiling of innocent citizens. Retired military judge Ümit Kardaş, speaking to a Turkish daily on Thursday, said giving such broad authority to the prime minister is anti-democratic. “If enacted, the state secret law will drag Turkey into fascism,” he cautioned.

Is the Hizmet movement resisting normalization?

Accusing the Hizmet movement, which insistently demands the fulfillment of the steps towards democratization which I referred to above and contributes to the process of change as evidenced by its stance in the referendum, of serving as a parallel structure indirectly means: “I will not change myself and introduce universal reforms. You have to live with this painful fact for the normalization of the country and take your steps accordingly.”

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