In the recent past you were side by side with Erdoğan, but now you are highly critical of him, why is this so?
The Hizmet Movement has always been supportive of democracy, and has never been partnered with any political party. Fethullah Gülen was recently interviewed by BBC, in which he expressed the following: “We have never been directly affiliated with any one party, whichever party it may be. Whether it be MHP, CHP, AK Party, DYP and ANAP, even though these two parties don’t seem to be around anymore. [...] If any of them have a reasonable facet, a beneficial trait for law, for democracy, or have an ambition to serve the nation, if they have intentions of forming positive interactions with their surroundings, then we may be seen on a shared platform, for such initiatives.”
In regards to AKP, since 2002 they have been an important factor in Turkey’s economic and political stability. With the referendum in 2010, AKP attempted to straighten out democracy, law and justice. Seeing that it was an initiative with democratic ambitions, the Hizmet movement adopted it and fulfilled its human responsibility of supporting it. In other terms, in the referendum the Hizmet community voted for justice and development, rather than AKP specifically. Our association was always in regards to progressing in democracy, justice, freedom and fighting against corrupt tutelage. This association was never about tender bid sharing, illegitimate initiatives, power or allotment of natural resources.
There is a matter I would like to touch on here: If a party is to exceed the framework of democracy they are putting forward, it is an innate obligation to criticize it. Therefore criticism is not for the bad of the party, but so that mistakes and shortcomings can be acknowledged and resolved. Thus, it is a social responsibility for the Hizmet Movement to criticise the party in power. Today it is evident that this party is not acting towards democracy in any way, and is in fact on the path to autocracy. Silence is not an option against this. Criticism towards some mistakes that the governing body has made in the past has also been expressed, either through close relations, media or through letters. It is a requirement of good will that, if you wish to convey your criticism to someone, and have it taken seriously, you will prefer means and methods that will be accepted by them. Fethullah Gülen’s letter from 2006 addressed these critical matters that were worrisome and had the potential to cause drawbacks, was released to media the same year of its sending.
In conclusion, it must be acknowledged that the insults, hateful speech and the language and manner that Erdoğan chooses to direct towards the Hizmet Movement have reached a disturbing level. This aggressive tone that was strategically displayed began with the arguments of closing down Hizmet’s boarding houses, and has become unbelievably fierce following the 17 December corruption and bribery operations. Very disrespectful terms such as “gang, assassin, virus, traitor, spy, psycho, fake prophet, fake scholar, leader of the parallel structure, blood sucking vampire, leech” have been used repeatedly. Such terms have deeply offended thousands of people who have set their hearts on Hizmet, and have resulted in the polarisation of the society.
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