The Journalists and Writers Foundation (GYV), whose honorary chairman is Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, protested against recent rhetoric employed by the Turkish government and its supporters in a forceful statement it released on Wednesday, claiming that the Hizmet movement has been “demonized” and challenged those who target Hizmet to prove their “slanders.”
The GYV described as “painful” the ongoing process that started on Dec. 17, 2013, when police raided dozens of homes and offices and arrested businessmen, the sons of three Turkish ministers and the chief of the state bank as part of a massive corruption investigation. All of them were later released. The GYV said the operation took on a new dimension with the mass reshuffling of nearly 10,000 members of police and judiciary.
The statement said the government was supposed to combat corruption in this process, but instead opted to pass laws that cannot be reconciled with universal legal norms and democratic principles in an effort to change the country’s agenda and distract attention away from corrupt practices.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the GYV statement said, sold the graft investigation as a “coup against the government” and targeted the Hizmet movement by voicing this claim along with a host of “unthinkable lies and slanders.” The statement described the statements by the prime minister as “misguided arguments and discriminatory rhetoric” that demoralize and impact on the emotional wellbeing of society while undermining social peace and paving the way for violence by sowing the seeds of hatred and animosity.
In the six-point statement, the GYV said the ongoing “prestige assassination” against Gülen is profoundly hurting many people.
In a manner that can hardly be seen in any democratic country, the statement added, the ruling party is targeting this nation’s civilian entities and organizations and trying to “demonize” them by mobilizing all resources available to the state.
The GYV also categorically rejected claims that Hizmet is preparing to establish a political party, saying that it is impossible for the Hizmet movement, consisting of millions of voluntary supporters from different political ideologies, to establish a political party directly or indirectly or to be affiliated with any political party. It said the claims are “false and unfounded” and constitute “a big lie.”
“Our fair-minded nation always knows what is right or wrong and acts wisely. No one needs anyone’s advice,” the statement stated.
The statement also challenged Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç’s accusation that the Hizmet movement threatened Erdoğan over the closure of prep schools, saying that “whoever spurted this unpalatable claim is obliged to prove it,” adding that he will otherwise be regarded as a “slanderer.”
The Hizmet movement said the slanderous claims in election rallies about its masterminding or resorting to blackmails, threats, conspiracies or plots are “unacceptable.” It reiterated that the movement has earned necessary trust both in Turkey and around the world in the past 50 years as it has never engaged in any act that cannot be reconciled with humanitarian, Islamic or legal principles or values.
The GYV also noted that it is disappointed to see how certain academics and Islamic scholars choose to remain silent and indifferent to the “inconceivable slanders and defamatory remarks” hurled at millions of volunteers of the Hizmet movement and Gülen.
“We believe our virtuous nation will rightly assess their silence disguised as impartiality,” the statement concluded.