October 29, 2015

Erdogan, Turkey and the blame game

Nasiru Suleiman

Recent development in Turkey has lured me to follow virtually all actions and inactions of major stakeholders in that country.

Particularly, the activities of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and the way his party, the Justice Development Party (AKP), are handling opposition and every other contrary view in the country.

Keen observers of event in Turkey by now should know that Turkish Islamic Cleric Fethullah Gülen has been marked as the number one enemy of Turkish government. And this would worry those who know the role Gulen played in making Erdogan.

Armed with this fact, therefore, I was not surprised when I saw the video of a press conference by Robert Amsterdam, who is also the founding partner of Amsterdam & Partners LLP, confirming the retainership contract to conduct a global investigation into the activities of the organization led by Gulen by the Turkish authorities.

Robert Amsterdam said, “We have been retained by the Republic to expose allegedly unlawful conduct by the Gülen network worldwide”. The question is, is this man or his firm, the Interpol?

He also said, “The activities of the Gülen network, including its penetration of the Turkish judiciary and police, as well as its political lobbying abroad, should concern everyone who cares about the future of democracy in Turkey.” This is bizarre. Who has been holding Turkey down from wearing full democracy regalia? How, specifically, has Gulen or his associates disturb the democratic equilibrium in the country? Who has tried to gaggle the press, the judiciary and the parliament?

Like many discerning minds that saw the press conference, it was obvious to me that the despotic government in Turkey is stopping at nothing in her bid to gag every dissenting view. It is rather unfortunate that a government would stoop so low to engage in such petty mudslinging to smear the name of a citizen of its country who the rest of the world views in a positive light.

It is even shameful for a government to admit that the judiciary, police of its country has been taking over by an individual. What then is the business of the government? Though observers of events in Turkey know that this accusation is a ploy, a way of blackmailing the Hizmet movement, it was obvious that Erdogan and his AKP allies are jealous of the level of success the Gulen Movement is achieving, particularly in its bid to support other stakeholders to restore world peace through the interfaith movement.

Hizmet movement and its various affiliates were clearly the target and for those who have been following the development drive of this movement would only laugh off this machination towards the demonization of this movement by Erdogan and his allies.

He did not stop at Gulen, but extended his propaganda to African leaders. He said, “We cannot entrust an entire generation of children to a group that claims to uphold the ‘truth of light,’ yet is itself covered in darkness.” The MOU, actually, clearly indicates that the African Union would decide were the schools would be located. Kimse Yok Mu, the Hizmet movement affiliated NGO responsible for the charity efforts, would build the schools, while the hosting communities would take possession of them and manage them. So how does this effort amount to entrusting “an entire generation of children to a group”? Besides, was Amsterdam saying African leaders are daft or irresponsible to have gone into partnership with Hizmet to establish over 1000 schools in Africa?

For those who know and are watching the activities of Hizmet movement, they would praise, rather than vilify, the movement for the great work it is doing in most African cities and the world at large. Yes, the movement has never hidden the business interest of its affiliates and, therefore, it is obnoxious for anyone to claim otherwise.

Amsterdam should have asked its client the Turkish Government, who has dispensed much energy to gag the press, what is the government hiding that makes the system to detest the activities of media in Turkey, which is a clear evidence that Turkish government is engaged in more activities of the dark, which has made the government synonymous to fighting the press.

Like one of the commentators about development in Turkey, Zafer Layik put it that when People look at Turkey today, they know that the government is looking for someone to blame for its alleged corruption and unlawful activities. Layik also said the government could hire a company like Amsterdam & Partners LLP to manage the unlawful activities and continue blaming someone who is 100% transparent for his activities. Layik said that the USA is a great country who will not let people like you to control them or tell them what to do. This interview will stay in this company’s history.

Rather than waste Turkish resources to engage in a lost personal battle that would not benefit the country anywhere, Erdogan should instead check himself by expending more energy on people-oriented projects than fighting his people through proxy.

Published on Daily Trust, 28 October 2015, Wednesday