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February 15, 2012, Wednesday

Sabotage: government-Gülen movement relations

We are facing a new situation that we are all trying to understand. First, the summoning of the undersecretary of the National Intelligence Organization (MİT), Hakan Fidan, and several other MİT administrators to testify as suspects has turned into an unprecedented and serious problem. Those waiting in the wings encouraged a debate that started as a “conflict between the judiciary and MİT” to the point of it becoming a “conflict between the Gülen movement and the government” in which the “main target was the prime minister.”

The first attention-grabbing point was that those in the media in charge of discrediting the Ergenekon case by portraying it as flippant and poorly defined have now rushed out of the hiding places where they had previously been concealing themselves. The rubbing of their hands and the glint in their eyes are impossible to hide. The ones that had been appointed as “allies” of “the plan to finish off the Justice and Development Party [AK Party] and Gülen” appeared proudly on stage, flaunting a “we told you so” attitude.

“A certain perception and delusion regarding the Gülen movement” is being promoted as if the opportunity they have been expecting has finally arrived. This is a dirty smear campaign that reminds me of the gloomy days of the Feb. 28 [1997] period, when recordings of many of Fetullah Gülen’s private sermons to his inner circle were secretly stolen and released to the media, and the movement was enraged by the fact that the recordings were doctored. They are trying to do what they weren’t able to do on Feb. 28, but this time on a democratic basis that has been strengthened by a 58 percent “yes” vote in the referendum, as well as the mandate of the AK Party government which swept to power by taking 50 percent of the vote. They are blatantly calling on the government to “finish off the Gülen movement.”

Additionally, there is the attitude of those who previously supported the AK Party but have been criticizing the government as much as possible in recent months over the issue of the Kurdish Communities Union (KCK). Those who were just recently exclaiming, both in Turkey and abroad, that “Erdoğan is moving towards a dictatorship” are trying to counsel the AK Party by saying, “Actually, the Gülen movement is at fault.” Those who know the “Gülen movement” best and who are still assumed to be friends are appearing in the back rows of the pro-Ergenekon choir. That really beats them all! Do they think they will not be ashamed when the waves of provocation end?

I think what is needed today is stoicism, sensibility and common sense. It is an old-fashioned demand, but if there is anyone who knows another way, they should tell me. How does it do anyone any good to live in a country where the intelligence organizations and security forces are a hot topic of debate and the judiciary and government are in conflict?

If a person acts in anger, they are likely to cause trouble for themselves later on. The hasty approach to prepare amendments to the law that will require the prime minister’s permission to investigate top intelligence officials would sabotage the democratization process. The newly drafted law will have negative implications on the long-standing Ergenekon case, which has paved the way for civilian supremacy over the political landscape. The power of the century-old system of military tutelage has neither come to an end nor does it suffer from any serious weaknesses. They still have lots of plans and traps to undermine civilian democracy. The biggest potential trap is the possibility they will draw the state and the people into conflict by means of initiating a clash between the government and the Gülen movement.

This government is the most active, responsive, assiduous and successful government in the history of the Turkish Republic. For a start, the honorable prime minister and the government’s political support for democratization have already made their mark on history. Any reasonable, aware person who loves their country does not want this government to stumble, as they know that the potential cost of this would be losing the future stability and continued democratization of Turkey.

However, the government is responsible for using the authority that it took away from the people in the way that kind of authority demands. The regime of military tutelage will not end while many parts of the 1982 Constitution remain in place. Democratization can’t be achieved without giving importance to European Union membership, sticking to a civil constitution, changing articles in current laws that support pro-coup groups and changing the anti-democratic election laws. Additionally, it can’t be achieved as long as the Law on the Court of Accounts, which gives privileges to the army, continues to exist.

I know the people in the so-called “Gülen movement” well. I have seen and felt that the people in the movement have not had any political expectations for 30 years. There cannot be any expectations in the Hizmet (altruistic service) movement. I have heard the warning: “This movement is a case of serving humanity for God’s sake. Actual conquest is the conquest of hearts. One can be a hero by making sacrifices while expecting nothing” many times. However, expectations are normal when it comes to policy and bureaucracy. One might ask the question: “OK, but why do they seem to take a political stance in referendums and elections? What does the Gülen movement want?” There is only one thing that is wanted: It is that fundamental rights and freedoms, including the freedom of religion and conscience, are guaranteed. It doesn’t matter who rules Turkey, as long as the people elect those in power.

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