Should Hizmet establish a political party?


I need to underscore three points before answering the question above. First, the “parallel structure” rhetoric is being used as a slogan for extrajudicial execution. It is employed as a resource for engineering public perceptions.

This is very clear: If the government has any evidential documentation or information concerning the oft-touted “parallel structure,” it must give it to the judicial authorities. It is up to the courts to decide who is guilty.

There is the principle of the individuality of the offender. It is unfair to treat a huge community as a crime syndicate without any evidence. Parroted allegations and insults that are geared toward “otherizing” certain groups are driving people who see each other as sisters and brothers apart in an irreparable polarization.

Second, the government’s attack against the Hizmet community has grown disproportionately and has spread to the entire country. When the dust settles a year later, we will all still be here to mingle with each other. Clearly, wrong or misguided wordings and behavior have exacerbated the problem. As far as I can see, that problem cannot be stopped but we must at least try to minimize the damage to our country. It is still not too late for senior government officials to control their tempers and return to good manners or even to silence.

Third, the reasonable solution to this issue is to advocate for the rule of law, democracy and universal principles. I must note it once again: If the government has any concrete and conclusive evidence, this evidence should be examined by judicial authorities. The allegations about a “parallel structure” or “gang” are repeated continually without any evidence being produced and this black propaganda undermines the principles of universal law. A hierarchical network that runs in parallel to the elected government within the state is unacceptable and indefensible. Bureaucrats should be subordinate only to their elected superiors. The accusations hurled at the Hizmet movement without any concrete evidence or without legal action amount to torture.

Now that I have underlined these points, I can proceed with the question in the title. Out of rage, some say, “Hizmet should establish a political party if it seeks to voice criticism of the government.” Those who say this do not understand the Hizmet movement; instead they just chose to challenge the movement, implying that it would not secure any sizable vote if it did establish a political party. If the Hizmet movement had believed that services to Turkey can best be provided through politics, it would have done so from the beginning. Civil society has a special place in democracies. One can also serve the country by rejecting democratic pressures and upholding rule of law and individual freedoms. I don’t intend to disparage the political route. Depending on their nature and reasoning, religious people take two different routes within democracy. They either establish a political party to promote their cause, or they choose to focus on education, dialogue, or charity to promote their religious values. No one tells those who take the political route: “Well, you intend to do something beneficial, but this platform is dangerous. People may change over time. They may abuse their powers and authorities to derive personal benefits. So quit your political route and work, instead, with us.” Does anyone make such a call to the people who choose the political route because it is a risky path? Likewise, isn’t it stupid to tell those who opt not to take the risky political route in order not to become corrupt in the end: “Go establish a political party”? Even I can make the following assertion, though at risk of offending those who take the political route: The political route prioritizes this world, while the service route focuses on the other world (the hereafter).

One thing is certain for both routes. No one can be forced to choose a particular route. Yet no concession should be made to the rule of law or freedoms and universal values. One’s intentions should not contradict his/her deeds.

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