December 31, 2012

Hey guys, take it easy

Ekrem Dumanlı

Is there tension between the Community and the Justice and Development Party (AK Party)?

This issue has been discussed for a long time. Both those who know the truth and those who do not comment on this issue. And some of those who speak or write on this issue are confident in neither the political groundwork that the AK Party stands for nor the social reality that the Community is rooted in. They just repeat the same old clichés. Even worse, some groups are doing their best to escalate this so-called tension into a conflict.

Last week, two important statements were made by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, two individuals most affected by this debate. Let's look at what they said.

Speaking during a TV program he attended last week, Erdoğan, when asked about the tension between the Community and the AK Party, said: “We see that these claims are being covered by the media. It is a nasty situation. These news reports hurt our friends, and some of them have even been convinced by these news reports. We warned them not to believe these claims. This is because once we start to believe these claims, we will be the ones seeing the greatest damage. Our primary goal is providing a high-quality service to the country.”

His remarks show that his thoughts are quite clear on this issue. Underlining that there is no tension between the AK Party and the Community, Erdoğan noted that it is wrong to believe that there is, and that everyone is being negatively affected by such a view.

Gülen also made a statement via his lawyers last week. When a newspaper ran the headline "Did the Community wiretap Erdoğan?" and pointed at Gülen, he had to issue a disclaimer. Citing the previous attempts of several ill-intended groups, Gülen shared Erdoğan's concerns and said, “They are now trying to incite a clash between the Community and the AK Party.”

Both Erdoğan and Gülen adopted the same approach and exhibited great sensibility toward this issue. However, this so-called tension being escalated by certain groups may have an impact on both the members of the AK Party and the Community. Of course the Community and the AK Party are not one and the same. In other words, neither is the Community the youth branch of the party not is the AK Party the political extension of the Community. But there is an alliance between the Community and the AK Party when it comes to improving the democratic standards in the country and making sure that Turkey has a place in the international arena that it deserves. It is natural that there would be some disagreements on certain topics between them. However, since the Prophet Muhammad considered disagreement among his followers a reflection of God's mercy, we also take these disagreements as our richness in the intellectual context. Indeed, there is no big difference between the AK Party and the Community in terms of basic beliefs and attitudes about certain issues. We can at the very least not talk about a gap which would create animosity between the AK Party and the Community. Despite these facts, why do some groups try to trigger tension and make it appear as if there is a conflict between the two via social media and columns or television programs?

Mr. Prime Minister said he pays no heed to claims that there is a conflict between the AK Party and the Community and notes that he has already warned his “friends” who have been influenced by these claims. He is perfectly right. It is not only within the AK Party but also within the Community that “these friends” are doing the wrong thing to deepen this so-called tension. Of course we cannot say that the “friends” of both sides who contribute to the deepening of this so-called tension are ill-intentioned. Some of them are defeated by their enthusiasm or do not realize the truth about this issue. Sometimes jealousy and ambition, or sometimes schism or intolerance, are the driving force behind these ill-intentioned efforts. Thus, although our immune system is very resistant to external attacks, our body sometimes can be shaken by viruses that have infiltrated our body. It is perhaps for this reason that everyone should ask their "friends" not to lose their common sense by recalling that we are all in the same boat.

I also have to underline that some people who recently became our "friends" have never been our real friends. If we have made a mistake, God forbid, the costume party will end and the truth will become much clearer. How do I know? We will have a clearer picture if we look at these friends' previous acts. For example, a few days before the last general election, someone told me, "I hope the AK Party will win more than 30 percent of the popular vote because in such a case Erdoğan will become a dictator." Now that person has forgotten what he said and became a friend of the AK Party. Another person, who said some very inappropriate things about the AK Party government, accusing Erdoğan of being a villager and a reactionary, is acting as if he has devoted his writings to the party with which he has no common denominator. I can give dozens of examples, but there is no need.

It is obvious that we are going through a difficult time. Turkey's progress which is a product of a cooperation of the masses that have experienced a host of problems and difficulties was not an easy one. Those who did not suffer from injustices would not understand the greatness of this process. Thankfully, Erdoğan's and Gülen's call for moderation create an atmosphere which would eliminate all seditions. And not only does Turkey need this atmosphere, but so does the whole world.

Published on Sunday's Zaman, 30 December 2012, Sunday

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