Will the government conduct ‘an operation’ against the community?
ORAL ÇALIŞLARIt is a known fact that the tension between the government and the “Gülen Community” (“Hizmet” – Service) has deep roots going way back. The dispute that has appeared in newspaper columns recently has reached a new phase with the statement from the Journalists and Writers Foundation (GYV), which is a visible representative of Hizmet.
The GYV statement indicated that the government had the intention of conducting an operation against them.
“Those people who bring up some of the above claims and who have written about them are expressing dark intentions such as ‘We are able to categorize the Hizmet into a terror organization and a gang with one prosecutor and three policemen; we are able to finish it;’ in addition to that, voicing the thought of closing down private courses [dershane] is bringing into line the community, that they express that those people they considered as having set their hearts on Hizmet were eliminated from the bureaucracy, very unfortunately, remind one of the deep state reflex and post-modern coup eras,” it said. (The fact that the debate is carried out over the possibility of an “operation” is proof that the justice-politics relationship has not yet been normalized.)
Deputy PM Bülent Arınç’s warnings show the dimension the debate has reached: “It is not correct to criticize government practices by resorting to excuses on certain things and making certain people very happy. Despite all the difficulties, the prime minister manages this country very well … It is quite out of line to drag people through the mud by implying or naming significant people in the party. We will manage our relations the best way we can. Our prime minister has very good feelings for the Hoca Efendi [Fethullah Gülen], but he is at the head of the government, the national interest.”
The threshold of a MİT operation
There are three critical elections in the coming two years. The government and the opposition are implementing various strategies because of these elections and are trying to use different means. The community stands at a critical point in this power fight; it has a chance to play a role as an “element of influence.”
We have seen that those names “close to the community” have adopted a critical stance, if not entirely but predominantly, on the Gezi incidents. This differentiation was probably the final straw in the “community-government relationship.”
The GYV statement says “that some media outlets close to the Hizmet Movement have viewed the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) investigation linked to the KCK positively associating them with these processes absolutely does not prove the claim of a conspiracy against the prime minister.” (Top MİT executives, including its head, Hakan Fidan, were summoned for involvement in the “Oslo talks” last February, prompting the government to quickly pass a law that required the prime minister’s permission to investigate intelligence officers. The prosecutor had alleged that MİT colluded with the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), the alleged urban wing of the PKK.)
Even though the “community” circles have such a defense, the prime minister had openly expressed his opinion that the operation against the head of the MİT was actually targeted at the prime minister. If we accept this “breaking point” as the base, we can consider that the main difference between the community and the government stems from the “resolution process.”
If we look at it from another angle, we can make evaluations based on different choices of modernization and democracy within the Islamist segment. We are experiencing a period when both sides accuse each other of “arrogance” and “power poisoning.”
Here are some useful tips to keep in mind while searching for an answer to “What can happen after this?”
The government cannot conduct “an operation” against the community, but it can continue its cleanup in the bureaucracy. The community, on the other hand, can use the voter potential it can influence as a trump card until the elections. (The emphasis of “Our voter grassroots is much higher than 3 percent” can be interpreted as such.)
The local elections are important. The community can have a determining weight in certain places.
If the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) fails in local elections; then the community can make a move through the Abdullah Gül option.
The initiative in this “relationship” is still and essentially in the hands of the government. It is making the moves mostly. It does not seem possible that this situation will change in the short term because the means of the government are the determining factor. However, the community has found more opportunities to raise its voice after the Gezi incidents.
It is possible to read journalist Mustafa Balbay’s “September will be hot” somewhere within this analysis…
Oral Çalışlar is a columnist for daily Radikal in which this piece was published on Aug 14. It was translated into English by the Daily News staff.