January 12, 2013

PM's chief adviser: Fethullah Gulen's support for peace talks of vital importance

Yalçın Akdoğan
The prime minister's chief adviser, Yalçın Akdoğan, said on a television show broadcast on Thursday that he deems Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen's remarks supporting the government's ongoing peace talks with a terrorist leader to be exceedingly critical as he represents quite a large part of the society. Because social and political support for the talks is quite important in the process, he attaches great significance to Gülen's endorsement, he commented.

Akdoğan, who is also a Justice and Development Party (AK Party) deputy, referred to Gülen's remarks that every necessary step needs to be taken, even if some of these steps might seem unnerving at first, to maintain peace in the country because “there are benefits to peace.”

The Islamic scholar recalled early in the week that the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah, which took place between Muslims and non-Muslims in the early days of Islam and established a 10-year-long peace in Mecca and Medina, included some articles which were very difficult for Muslims to accept at first but later turned out to be to their benefit.

“If some problems are to be resolved, we should act with the same considerations of the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah and do the necessary thing,” he said, adding that the security of the country should not be placed at risk.

Emphasizing the importance of Gülen's remarks, Akdoğan said: “Political and social support to this peace process is of high importance. The government cannot take a step in spite of the public and nation. It is easier for the [government] to get a result when there is strong support from the public. Countries successful in their fight against terrorism are those that have the full support of the opposition. That is why it is incredibly important that opposition groups, and the main opposition party in particular, give their support to the process.” He then thanked Gülen for his open support for the government's initiative of the negotiations.

As for Gülen's remarks giving an example from the times of Prophet Muhammad, Akdoğan said the Prophet's life is exemplary in every sense and thus it is wise to draw lessons from the incidents that occurred at the time.

In his article in the Star daily, Akdoğan, a columnist for the paper, said the Prophet showed great determination in his fight against non-Muslims but was also the one who suggested the idea of a treaty in the first place. The government should follow the same path, he noted.

Published on Today's Zaman, 11 January 2013, Friday

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