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‘The Gülen community should prove its innocence’

Friday 26 November 2010, by Bülent Korucu

A wave of reactions has followed the book of now-arrested Police Chief Hanefi Avcı. Even those who don’t find Avcı’s claims plausible don’t hesitate to add the sentence, “But the Gülen community should prove its innocence.”

This places the burden of proof on the defendant. The idea of saying, “Well, the onus is on you to be discharged of a liability,” is not logical, let alone legal. Another sentence which is easy on the ears these days is, “The community should become more transparent.” Our elders used to call this sort of thing “teklif-i malayukat,” meaning an unendurable offer.

Firstly, there is an objection to the notion of a community and its narrow parameters. These people call themselves not a “community,” but a “movement.” In the words of Fethullah Gülen, “They are building the gate in such a way that everyone can enter through it.” While a community uses set templates, a movement tries to reach everyone. There is room for everyone here — from a person who donates a sacrificial animal once a year, a person who builds a school all by themselves, the old man in the village who put aside money from his tea crops to businessman Üzeyir Garih, who exerted efforts to have a school opened in Russia — everyone has found a place under this umbrella. Nobody has the right or authority to list and explain these. Besides, there isn’t such a list. A person looking to donate a sacrificial animal can go to Şırnak or Nairobi and deliver it by hand if they’d like. And a person who builds a school directs the whole process personally from beginning to end. There’s transparency for you.

I know no other person who is more transparent than Gülen, or Hocaefendi. Almost every sentence he has uttered since the late 1960s has been recorded. Even the voice recordings of the speeches he delivered in the remotest part of the country can be accessed. He has penned dozens of books. Numerous reporters have interviewed him. Many academics and businessmen have had the opportunity to meet with and listen to him on various occasions. I think it is unfair to call on such a public figure to be more transparent. Every book published or every speech delivered implies the author or orator is ready for public inspection. The collective conscience performs this public auditing. Indeed, what he said was conceived as reasonable and correct, and his advice was fulfilled. Even the most critical eyes have investigated these trying to find flaws or defects. Not a single criminal aspect of them could be found, and courts declined all accusations. Will there be any better transparency?

Now, on to the issue of bureaucracy. With the establishment of the republic, the pious people were kept away from the state through such provocations as the one in Menemen. Our ancestors would say that they had not gone to school in order not to lose their religion. As alternatives, imam-hatip schools emerged so that the next generations could attend school. Gülen raised his voice with a counterclaim. He attached the utmost importance to the principle that the biggest enemy is ignorance He preached that studying natural sciences would not make one lose his/her religion and attending law school would not bring about disbelief and philosophy would not lead one to hell. He persuaded people to send their children to school and even to build schools.

Schools that have been built according to his recommendations have evolved into globally competitive schools. He tried to remedy the feelings of resentment by explaining that the state is a mechanism built to meet the nation’s need and an apparatus to facilitate social life.

“Don’t get stuck on those who make mistakes, this state is our state” he said. He gave the people of Anatolia a vision by saying: “Do not neglect education. Do not suffice with farming or small-time trade.” Was that so bad? Hocaefendi’s definition of patriotism, one of his unique distinct characteristics requires one to be “a person who is educated and well-trained in every field.” What is wrong with that?

Nowadays new and contradictory debates are emerging. Some people are asking “why are there no prominent women who wear headscarves?”

How can you ask this question when you’ve invented something called the “public space” — the deadliest weapon after the atomic bomb — you can’t tolerate her even when she stands next to her husband, you can’t accept that she is the president’s wife, you kick out academics and you don’t feel they have a right to be in the private sector. A media that has debated the question “would you hire a reporter who wears a headscarf?” and had its majority say no especially does not have the right to ask this question.

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Source : TdZ, 17 October 2010, Sunday

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