July 22, 2014

'There is still a way out of this impasse.'

Kemal Karpat

Criticism of the AK Party is ruining its legacy. It is a case where they are ruining in a few years what they built over the last decade. There is still a way out of this impasse. And there is also a delicate issue here; the Gülen movement [the Hizmet movement, inspired by the Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen] issue.

Like many others, I was invited to their meetings. I have given speeches at Abant meetings. I paid visits to their schools abroad. I have seen the Gülen movement as a movement that complemented the political and economic developments in Turkey. I mean, I do not know how the movement is administered; I have no affiliation with them or any political party. But I see them as a movement that represents a popular Islam and one that pays attention to national and democratic values as well as practical solutions and the economy. I have seen it as a movement represented by a leader who has a connection with the people. Just as the AK Party is based on the popular choice, I believe that the Gülen movement also represents a popular Islam and Turkish Islam, and that it is a tolerant movement that seeks integration with the world. I have seen the AK Party and the Gülen movement as two components that complement each other. Now they are against each other. I do not know whose fault this is. The fight between two such popular movements and groups is a huge loss for Turkey. In the end, they will hurt each other. Maybe one of them will be eliminated. I do not know what happened. There are always obsessions in politics, but it is possible to fix them. This should be kept in mind. Announcing a dedication to destroying this movement is against Turkey's best interests in the long run.

Excerpt from the interview with Prof. Karpat, published on Today's Zaman, 21 July 2014, Monday