June 30, 2014

BBP leader: Anti-Hizmet plot recalls practices of Feb. 28

Grand Unity Party (BBP) leader Mustafa Destici has likened an alleged secret plot devised by the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government against members of the faith-based Hizmet movement to the practices of the Feb. 28, 1997 military coup when there was immense pressure on pious people in the country.

The alleged anti-Hizmet plot was brought to the fore when former Interior Minister İdris Naim Şahin submitted a question to Parliament on June 20, asking if there is a secret plot against Hizmet and if the AK Party had mobilized all its resources to gather evidence to initiate an operation against the movement.

In his question Şahin said he had received a large number of documents pertaining to the alleged plan after he stepped down as interior minister. The documents suggest, he said, that the Interior Ministry had recently ordered intelligence officers to gather evidence to launch a police operation against the group. According to Şahin's question, the action plan recommends that authorities investigate if Hizmet members have weapons and if it would be possible for its members to stage a coup against the AK Party government.

Hizmet, inspired by Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, is a grassroots education and interfaith dialogue movement operating all over the world.

Destici said it is very desperate for the once-victims of the Feb. 28 coup to be involved in similar practices of the coup today.

The Feb. 28 coup refers to what is popularly known as a postmodern coup in the country when the Turkish military forced a coalition government, led by conservative Welfare Party (RP), to resign on the grounds that there was religious fundamentalism in the country. Hundreds of thousands of people were profiled during the days of the coup according to their religious and ideological backgrounds.

Many figures in the ranks of the AK Party today were then involved in politics in the RP ranks and were also victimized by the coup. The AK Party was established by a group of politicians from the RP.

“Just like we stood behind the victims of the Feb. 28 coup, today we will again stand behind those who are victimized by similar coup practices,” Destici told Today's Zaman.

Published on Sunday's Zaman, 29 June 2014, Sunday