Turkish Islamic Scholar Fethullah Gülen has decried recent claims by the government and the president that his followers are behind recent violent street protests in Turkey, indicating that the government is attempting to patch up a “giant tear” it has made with these claims in an effort he said is bound to fail.
“Some tactless people would say there are ‘parallels' behind such incidents. They do not even believe these lies, but in order to gloss over their wrongdoings they are cheering themselves up with this patch, which in fact cannot fix their tear. This tiny patch will not conceal that giant rip, friend!” Gülen said in a speech broadcast on the Herkul.org website on Wednesday.
Gülen and his Hizmet movement have been the direct targets of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government ever since a corruption probe in which some senior government members were implicated went public on Dec. 17. Erdoğan, who refers to Hizmet as a “parallel state” or “parallel structure,” accuses the movement of being behind the corruption operation.
The government now headed by Erdoğan's successor Ahmet Davutoğlu has taken action to ensure the closure of schools opened by Hizmet followers in many countries around the world. Hizmet-affiliated institutions and schools in Turkey are also under intense pressure from the government.
Erdoğan has accused the movement of being behind almost every negative development in Turkey since then. Most recently, he said “Pennsylvania,” referring to Gülen's current place of residence, is behind violent protests that engulfed the country last week over the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant's (ISIL) siege of the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani.
The Islamic scholar has repeatedly denied the government's claims that he or Hizmet have tried to establish a parallel state.
Gülen said in his latest speech that even if the government now tries to conceal its wrongdoings, they will be written down in history and “they will have [their crimes] thrown in their faces in this world if they are alive, or in the other world if they are not.”
“Slander and displays of hate, like attributing street protests to this movement, [is an act that] cannot even be seen [being done by] unbelievers. Yes, such tactlessness cannot be seen in people from across the world who have different religions and cultures,” Gülen said.
Published on Today's Zaman, 15 October 2014, Wednesday