December 14, 2015

What’s been done to Yıldırım is tyranny, retired mufti says

Backlash against a detention warrant issued for Suat Yıldırım -- a professor of Islamic theology who is over 70 years old – continues as retired mufti Yahya Akın says Yıldırım has been subjected to tyranny.

Counterterrorism police officers arrived at Yıldırım's house early on Saturday to detain him on the charge of managing a terrorist organization, but he wasn't at home. The detention warrant is a part of an investigation of the “parallel structure,” a term coined by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to refer to the Gülen movement, also known as the Hizmet movement, inspired by Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen.

Speaking to Today's Zaman, retired mufti Akın said: “Suat Yıldırım has nothing to do with politics. He is a professor and theologian whose life has been spent on [reading and writing] exegeses of the Quran. What has been done to him is tyranny. [The detention warrant] has no relation to reality and is not compatible with human rights and Islamic rules.

“Tyrants suffer the consequences of what they have done,” Akın added, quoting one of the “hadiths” (sayings of the Prophet Muhammad).

Kazım Güleçyüz, the editor-in-chief of the Yeni Asya daily, also spoke to Today's Zaman, saying the detention warrant for Yıldırım can be interpreted as a sign of disarray in the judicial branch of government. “Terrorist organization accusations have gone completely off the rails. Everybody knows what a terrorist is We have been witnessing what terror has done to the southeast [of Turkey]. If someone is searching for terror, he should look for it there. If you do this [issue a detention warrant] to a person who has nothing to do with terror -- someone who has spent his life with books and students -- on charges of managing a terrorist organization, it can be interpreted as a sign of disarray in the judiciary. While Turkey should be normalized, incidents such as this prevent it. I wish the law was applied according to the principles of democracy,” Güleçyüz stated.

Yıldırım, who graduated from the faculty of theology at Ankara University in 1964, has written numerous books on theology and has over 70 articles to his name. Yıldırım chaired the departments of Quranic exegesis at both Atatürk University and Marmara University between 1977 and 1993. He then served as dean of the faculty of theology at Sakarya University between 1993 and 1995. Yıldırım currently teaches at Fatih University in İstanbul.

People who are sympathetic to Gülen have been targeted by the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) since a major graft investigation implicating President Erdoğan and other top AK Party figures was made public on Dec. 17, 2013. Then-Prime Minister Erdoğan accused the Gülen movement of plotting to overthrow his government. Erdoğan has said he would carry out a “witch hunt” against anyone with links to the movement. The movement strongly rejects the allegations brought against it.

Published on Today's Zaman, 14 December 2015, Monday