Gülen says acts of violence at stadiums not ‘coincidental’

Well-respected Turkish intellectual and scholar Fethullah Gülen has said recent »»

Well-respected Turkish intellectual and scholar Fethullah Gülen has said recent acts of violence at football stadiums by hooligans are not coincidental, adding the events were orchestrated by circles that wish to destroy the peaceful atmosphere of Turkey.

Gülen was referring to acts of violence triggered by hooligans after a derby match between Fenerbahçe and Galatasaray last week, as a result of which Fenerbahçe lost the title of champion to its rival. After the match, hundreds of Fenerbahçe fans occupied the pitch at their Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium in İstanbul. Others broke off plastic chairs and threw them at police. The fans also turned over two police vehicles and set them on fire outside the stadium and one fan was stabbed. In his latest weekly speech broadcast on the website, Gülen responded to a question on the reasons and motives for the increasing acts of violence in Turkish society. Commenting on football hooliganism, the scholar said: “The incidents that took place inside and around stadiums recently are certainly neither ordinary nor coincidental.

We should not think that the incidents are coincidental upon seeing the pictures of provocateurs crying and complaining at the same time as destroying other people’s property or intending to kill them, and upon reading reports by some media outlets trying to justify the incidents. All such incidents were planned and aimed to trip Turkey up at a time when it is taking strong steps on its path to put itself in order.”

According to Gülen, aggression and violence against doctors by patients and their relatives could be a result of a loss of mental balance by Turkish society in one sense. The scholar, however, said his remarks do not target people who are careful in showing respect to others due to the respect they have for Islam and its teachings.

Suggesting probable solutions to decrease acts of violence in Turkey, Gülen said a revision of the Turkish education system could be a solution. “The settlement of social problems lies in education. For this reason, curricula of all institutions of education, from kindergarten to doctoral programs, should be revised. We are in dire need of curricula that would help the young obtain values our society has fostered and developed for centuries.”

Speaking about the recent controversy sparked by a message on Twitter by journalist Ergun Babahan, Gülen said neither he nor his movement would respond to misdeeds with misdeeds. “This is probably the hardest issue. It is virtue to give a rose to a man even if he bites you. What befits us most is to handle all events with tender-mindedness and refrain from responding to bad deeds with bad deeds. … We never think of doing bad to others and pursuing plans of evil,” he said. In the aftermath of the Fenerbahçe-Galatasaray match, Babahan tweeted words which were interpreted as an insult to Gülen. Babahan later offered an apology for his remarks.

Gülen, in addition, made a call on Turkish society to encourage good in others. “Despite all the negativities, we need to call on all humans to act according to the requirements of being a human being and to strengthen the culture of coexistence. It is a must for a Muslim to try to change it with his hand if he sees something wrong. If he cannot, then with his tongue; if he cannot, then with his heart. Today it is the duty of the state to change a bad thing with the ‘hand.’ It falls on us to give advice [if we see someone engaged in something bad] if the conditions are favorable. If the conditions are not favorable for such advice, then we should display our disapproval of the bad thing by interrupting our cordial kinship with that person,” he asserted.



Columnist: TODAY'S ZAMAN