Gülen Movement denies 'rift with ruling AKP'

Gülen Movement denies 'rift with ruling AKP'

ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
Gülen Movement denies rift with ruling AKP

The Gülen Movement says it is not against peaceful protests. AA photo

One of the leading institutions of the Gülen community, the Journalists and Writers Foundation (GYV), has denied rumors of a split between the group and the ruling government, calling the claims “black propaganda.”

Many have been speculating about recent conflict between the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the “Hizmet” (Service) movement, an Islamist religious movement taking inspiration from self-exiled theologian Fethullah Gülen and whose inner workings have often been the source of speculation.

The GYV also categorically denied that the Gülen movement had played any sort of role in sparking the Gezi Park protests.

The Hizmet Movement is not against unarmed peaceful protests as it respects democracy, the statement said, but added that such protests could be abused, prompting the movement to discourage its followers from attending such demonstrations.

The statement repeated Gülen’s June 6 statements, in which the religious leader urged the government not to underestimate the possibility that Gezi could be transformed into a plot against the government, even though it began as an environmentalist action.

The statement also cited Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy İdris Bal’s recent “Taksim Incidents Analysis,” which said Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had been misinformed during the Gezi Park protests and that a redevelopment project at the heart of the issue had not been handled in a democratic way.
The statement said the Hizmet Movement’s approach to the issue was not different than Bal’s findings and that the government had made a “strategic mistake” on the Gezi Park protests.

Erdoğan praised the movement amid the incidents during the Turkish Olympics, which is organized by Gülenists – proof that Erdoğan does not consider Hizmet as a force behind the protests, it said.

Hizmet also categorically denied claims that police under the influence of the movement had burned down protesters’ tents, arguing that officers are appointed by the Interior Ministry.

The announcement also said Hizmet was a civil movement and did not force its members to adopt any political line and that it would not be involved in any sort of political actions.

The statement also denied that the movement had “people in the state bureaucracy” in response to claims that pro-Hizmet prosecutors “released Gezi Park protesters after their detention.”

The GYV’s statement also countered claims that Gülenists had taken control of the judiciary, saying all judges and prosecutors were public officials who were subject to the authority and supervision of the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) and that the Justice Ministry and the board were responsible for addressing professional mistakes made by judges and prosecutors.