A huge propaganda machine is working against the Hizmet movement, both in Turkey and across the world.
The Justice and Development Party (AKP) has been working with all sorts of allies to character-assassinate the movement. While in Turkey and in the Muslim world, the AKP portrays Hizmet as an Israeli servant and a CIA creation that wants to Christianize Turkey, in the English-language media, it is presented as radical Islamist movement that wants to see an Iranian-style coup in Turkey. For a brief summary of these two stark contrasts by the same people, just look at President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's son-in-law's newspapers: Sabah (Turkish) and Daily Sabah (English), which constantly publish these fabricated and totally contradictory stories.
Nowadays, because the AKP government is trying to mend its relations with Israel because of the threat from Russian President Vladimir Putin and Western pressure, even in the Turkish versions of pro-AKP newspapers, you can read pro-Israel-AKP relations pieces. Naturally, many democrats in Turkey, including pro-Hizmet people like me, make fun of the AKP's U-turns and point to their miserable zig-zags. Some observers who dislike the Hizmet movement never miss the opportunity to claim that Hizmet volunteers are not happy with the AKP-Israeli thaw. I cannot, of course, vouch for every volunteer of the Hizmet movement, which is a sociologically, ethnically and politically heterogeneous social entity. However, by looking at what pro-Hizmet writers, journalists, academics etc. have been saying on this issue, I can safely say that they have always advocated a critical Turkey-Israel engagement that would be helpful for peace in the region and for the Palestinians.
I will now summarize what I wrote here last week on the issue. And, I have been writing such pieces for the last a few years, ever since the Mavi Marmara incident. Mr. Fethullah Gülen was critical of the AKP leaders at the time and he argued that a peaceful and non-confrontational path had to be sought to send humanitarian aid to the Gazans. Ever since he has made such statements, he has been demonized by the AKP media. And let me underline that this started at a time when AKP-Hizmet relations were excellent, showing that Gülen and Hizmet were critical of the AKP well before the AKP's attacks on the movement. Many so-called objective observers prefer not to see all this in their ostensibly unbiased analyses. Now, they claim that Hizmet volunteers (they prefer to use the term “Gülenists” to seem objective and Hizmet volunteers hate this term) are not happy about the thaw in Turkey and Israeli relations. That is a big lie. Here what I wrote here last week:
“Since the AKP has to rely on the West, despite its monstrous Islamist and anti-Western rhetoric at home, it has to normalize its relations with the West. This is also good news for the Palestinians for two major reasons. First, they will no longer be abused and manipulated by the AKP's shallow, rhetorical support for Palestine for the sake of winning elections in Turkey. Second, I have always said Turkey's critical engagement with Israel is good for the Palestinians (and coincidentally this was one of the reasons pro-AKP figures announced me a Mossad agent, in addition to being an MI6 agent!)”As I said, Today's Zaman has published several pieces like this over the years and I have penned similar columns in my Turkish-language column in the Hizmet-affiliated daily newspaper Meydan. Yet, some so-called observers and journalists prefer not see this since it would harm their theories!
“In 1948 the Jews, many of whom were exterminated in millions by the monster Nazis, established a homeland, a safe haven (Zion), for themselves. Muslim nationalists, Islamists, Arab nationalists etc., have to come to terms with the reality of Israel's existence and acknowledging the Holocaust, rather than stupidly denying it, would help them a lot. They must pressure Israel for a two-state solution drawn with pre-1967 borders. Without understanding the agony that the Jews suffered for many centuries, the last being during the Holocaust, and without making sure that Israel has a right to exist, there will be no peace. And, if there is no peace, both secular Arab nationalists and Islamists will continue to exploit the situation for their corrupt benefits. Erdoğan and his AKP were barriers to the Israeli-Palestinian peace, and I hope they will no longer be stumbling blocks but facilitators.”
Published on Today's Zaman, 30 December 2015, Wednesday