Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen has said the attempts to depict the Hizmet movement as being linked to the recent violent protests across Turkey, triggered by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) siege of the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani, is a great slander, emphasizing that the movement has never been involved in any form of violence.
In a recent lecture titled “Miserables of Parallel [in reference to the term ‘parallel structure' that is used by government officials to refer to the movement] Paranoia and the Road Map of Hizmet Supporters,” Gülen stated: “It is known by everyone that the Hizmet movement [inspired by his teachings] has never said ‘yes' to any form of violence, anarchy or street demonstrations,” adding that associating the Hizmet movement, which is also known as the Gülen movement, with the recent violent protests across Turkey, in which more than 30 people have been killed, is a great slander.
Gülen made these comments in response to the statements of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who blamed the Hizmet movement for the protests. Speaking during an event in Rize province on Saturday, Erdoğan had accused Gülen and the Hizmet movement of fuelling the violent protests, stating, “Not only the PKK but also Pennsylvania [referring to Gülen, who lives in Pennsylvania] are behind the Kobani incidents.”
Gülen also stated that such claims that attempt to depict the movement as being linked to the protests are part of paranoia and carry the intention to defame. He also said such claims consist of vulgar words that anyone with a common sense will find very funny.
The Hizmet movement has become the target of a large-scale defamation campaign being conducted by circles close to the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government since a major corruption and bribery scandal -- which implicated many high-ranking state officials, including then-Prime Minister and now-President Erdoğan and four state ministers, and pro-government businessmen -- became public on Dec. 17 of last year.
Government officials have accused the Hizmet movement of participating in a plot and using the corruption investigation to damage the government.
People took to the streets last Tuesday following reports that ISIL was very near to capturing the town of Kobani, which is being defended by the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), a Syrian-based affiliate of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). Fighting still continues in the Syrian town, which is situated very near the Turkish border.
More than 30 people have been killed during the protests, mainly in southeastern Turkey, while over 350 people -- including 139 members of security forces-- were injured. A total of 1,024 protestors have been detained in connection with the protests, which erupted in 35 provinces across Turkey.
Published on Sunday's Zaman, 12 October 2014, Sunday