October 27, 2014

Tyrants do not remain in power long, warns Constitutional Court head

The head of Turkey's top court has said oppressors who are cursed by their victims, as history has shown, are not able to remain in power for long.

“No oppressor [in history] has been able to remain in power for long after he is cursed by the victims whose rights he has violated,” Haşim Kılıç, head of the Constitutional Court, said at an iftar dinner on Sunday.

Noting at the dinner, organized by the World Ehl-i Beyt Foundation, that the history of humanity shows rulers who challenge religious beliefs and freedoms do not emerge victorious, the Constitutional Court head covertly criticized the government, saying the shared values that keep the society together have been ruthlessly destroyed.

In what could be viewed as an obvious reference to the government, Kılıç said at the event that it was highly worrisome that feelings of hatred by those in power have been widely used to demonize rivals.

Particularly since the Syrian civil war began in 2011, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party), and especially President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has adopted a discourse based on sectarian themes, thereby alienating the Alevi community in Turkey.

During past election campaigns, then-Prime Minister Erdoğan said during rallies that the leader of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, was of Alevi origin, rhetoric apparently adopted to get the support of Turkey's voters, who are predominantly from the Sunni sect of Islam.

Following a bomb attack in the town of Reyhanlı in Hatay province on the Syrian border last year, Erdoğan referred to the 53 Turks who lost their lives in the blast as “Sunni citizens,” as if to point out and also demonize the Alawite character of the Syrian regime.

Kılıç in his speech underlined that discourse based on hatred towards segments of society, which is something the government has also adopted towards the Hizmet movement since the launch of two graft probes in December of last year, would lead to the ruin of society.

Following the graft probes, as part of which four of the government's Cabinet ministers had to resign, the government started a witch hunt against alleged sympathizers of Hizmet, a faith-based group inspired by Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, without providing any solid evidence for their action.

The government accused Hizmet of being behind the probes and of plotting against the government as part of an international plot.

Interior Minister Efkan Ala left the event after making his speech without waiting for the Constitutional Court head to make his. Mustafa Kamalak, chairman of the Felicity Party (SP), Mustafa Destici, leader of the Grand Unity Party (BBP) and Öznur Çalık, deputy chairman of the AK Party, were also present at the event, which was organized at a hotel in Ankara on the occasion of the Alevis' sacred month of Muharrem.

Alevism is viewed by a great majority of Alevis as a heterodox sect of Islam, though some see it as being outside of Islam. Alevis are estimated to make up 10-15 percent of Turkey's population.

Published on Cihan, 27 October 2014, Monday