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Fethullah Gulen’s Article on NYT – I Condemn All Threats to Turkey’s Democracy

Fethullah Gulen’s Article on NYT – I Condemn All Threats to Turkey’s Democracy

Posted on 28/7/2016

Fethullah Gulen

DETAILS

Fethullah Gulen: I Condemn All Threats to Turkey’s Democracy

SAYLORSBURG, Pa. — During the attempted military coup in Turkey this month, I condemned it in the strongest terms. “Government should be won through a process of free and fair elections, not force,” I said. “I pray to God for Turkey, for Turkish citizens, and for all those currently in Turkey that this situation is resolved peacefully and quickly.”

Despite my unequivocal protest, similar to statements issued by all three of the major opposition parties, Turkey’s increasingly authoritarian president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, immediately accused me of orchestrating the putsch. He demanded that the United States extradite me from my home in Pennsylvania, where I have lived in voluntary exile since 1999.

Not only does Mr. Erdogan’s suggestion run afoul of everything I believe in, it is also irresponsible and wrong.

My philosophy — inclusive and pluralist Islam, dedicated to service to human beings from every faith — is antithetical to armed rebellion. For more than 40 years, the participants in the movement that I am associated with — called Hizmet, the Turkish word for “service” — have advocated for, and demonstrated their commitment to, a form of government that derives its legitimacy from the will of the people and that respects the rights of all citizens regardless of their religious views, political affiliations or ethnic origins. Entrepreneurs and volunteers inspired by Hizmet’s values have invested in modern education and community service in more than 150 countries.

At a time when Western democracies are searching for moderate Muslim voices, I and my friends in the Hizmet movement have taken a clear stance against extremist violence, from the Sept. 11 attacks by Al Qaeda to brutal executions by the Islamic State to the kidnappings by Boko Haram.

In addition to condemning mindless violence, including during the coup attempt, we have emphasized our commitment to preventing terrorists’ recruitment from among Muslim youth and nurturing a peaceful, pluralist mind-set.

Throughout my life, I have publicly and privately denounced military interventions in domestic politics. In fact, I have been advocating for democracy for decades. Having suffered through four military coups in four decades in Turkey — and having been subjected by those military regimes to harassment and wrongful imprisonment — I would never want my fellow citizens to endure such an ordeal again. If somebody who appears to be a Hizmet sympathizer has been involved in an attempted coup, he betrays my ideals.

Nevertheless, Mr. Erdogan’s accusation is no surprise, not for what it says about me but rather for what it reveals about his systematic and dangerous drive toward one-man rule.

Like many Turkish citizens, the Hizmet movement’s participants supported Mr. Erdogan’s early efforts to democratize Turkey and fulfill the requirements for membership in the European Union. But we were not silent as he turned from democracy to despotism. Even before these new purges, Mr. Erdogan in recent years has arbitrarily closed newspapers; removed thousands of judges, prosecutors, police officers and civil servants from their positions; and taken especially harsh measures against Kurdish communities. He has declared his detractors enemies of the state.

Hizmet, in particular, has been the target of the president’s wrath. In 2013, Mr. Erdogan blamed Hizmet sympathizers within the Turkish bureaucracy for initiating a corruption investigation that implicated members of his cabinet and other close associates. As a result, scores of members of the judiciary and the police forces were purged or arrested for simply doing their jobs.

Since 2014, when Mr. Erdogan was elected president after 11 years as prime minister, he has sought to transform Turkey from a parliamentary democracy into an “executive presidency,” essentially without checks on his power. In that context, Mr. Erdogan’s recent statement that the failed coup was a “gift from God” is ominous. As he seeks to purge still more dissenters from government agencies — nearly 70,000 people have been fired so far — and to crack down further on Hizmet and other civil society organizations, he is removing many of the remaining impediments to absolute power. Amnesty International has revealed “credible” reports of torture, including rape, at detention centers. No wonder Mr. Erdogan’s government suspended the European Convention on Human Rights and declared a state of emergency.

Turkey’s president is blackmailing the United States by threatening to curb his country’s support for the international coalition against the Islamic State. His goal: to ensure my extradition, despite a lack of credible evidence and virtually no prospect for a fair trial. The temptation to give Mr. Erdogan whatever he wants is understandable. But the United States must resist it.

Violent extremism feeds on the frustrations of those forced to live under dictators who cannot be challenged by peaceful protests and democratic politics. In Turkey, the Erdogan government’s shift toward a dictatorship is polarizing the population along sectarian, political, religious and ethnic lines, fueling the fanatics.

For the sake of worldwide efforts to restore peace in turbulent times, as well as to safeguard the future of democracy in the Middle East, the United States must not accommodate an autocrat who is turning a failed putsch into a slow-motion coup of his own against constitutional government.

Fethullah Gulen is an Islamic scholar, preacher and social advocate.

法图拉·葛兰: 我谴责针对土耳其民主的所有威胁

塞勒斯堡,宾夕法尼亚——本月土耳其发生未遂政变期间,我对此发出最强烈的谴责。我说“政府应该通过自由而公正的选举程序上下台,而不是通过武力。我向真主为土耳其祈祷,为土耳其人民祈祷,为当前身处土耳其境内的所有人祈祷,祈求当前的局面能够得到和平而迅速的化解。”

尽管我发出了明白无误的抗议,三大主要反对派也都发出了类似的声明,但是土耳其日益独裁专断的总统雷杰普·泰义布·埃尔多安还是很快就指责说是我策划了此次叛乱。他要求美国将我从我位于宾夕法尼亚的家中驱逐出去。我自1999年开始就自我放逐,客居于此。埃尔多安先生的主张不但不符合我本人的思想理念,而且是不负责任的,错误的。

我秉持包容而多元的伊斯兰思想,致力于从各个信仰的角度服务于全人类,反对武装叛乱。四十多年来,我在土耳其倡导“服务”(Hizmet,土耳其语,意思是服务和奉献)思想。这一社会运动的参与者都致力于追求这样一种政府:其合法性来自于人民的意愿,尊重所有公民的权利而无论其宗教观念、政治派别或种族渊源。在服务运动理念的激励下,有众多的企业家和志愿者们在一百五十多个国家投资兴办了现代教育和社会服务项目。

在基地组织发动911袭击之后,在IS发出血腥斩首行动之后,博科圣地绑架案发生之后,西方民主国家寻求温和的穆斯林声音的时候,我和我参与服务运动的朋友们站在明确的立场上旗帜鲜明地反对极端主义暴力行为。

我们不仅谴责包括政变企图在内的无头脑暴力行为,同时也强调我们致力于培养年轻人和平而包容的思想观念,从而防止恐怖分子在穆斯林青年中招兵买马。

在我的一生中,无论是公开还是私下,我都始终如一地谴责武力干政的行为。实际上,数十年来我一直都在倡导民主。四十年来,我本人就是土耳其四次军事政变的受害者,我曾经受到武力政权的骚扰并坐过冤狱——我绝不想要的同胞们再遭受这样的劫难。如果有貌似同情服务运动的人卷入了此次未遂政变,那么他背叛了我的思想理念。

不过,埃尔多安先生的指责也算不上意外——不是说他指责我干了什么,而是说他的言论暴露了他蓄谋已久的、垂涎一人独揽大权的危险动机。

和很多土耳其公民一样,服务运动的参与者们曾经支持过早期的埃尔多安先生,当年他致力于土耳其的民主化并努力寻求让土耳其加入欧盟。但是当他从民主的道路上开始掉头、转向独裁专断的时候,我们并没有保持沉默。近几年来,就在新近的几次清洗行动之前,埃尔多安先生就很武断地关闭了数家报纸;解除了数以千计的法官、检察官、警官和公务员的职务;对待库尔德社群方面手段尤其残酷。他将批评他的人都宣布为国家的敌人。

尤其是服务运动,成为了总统发泄怒气的出气筒。2013年,埃尔多安先生指责土耳其官僚机构内部同情服务运动的人发起了针对他的内阁成员和其他亲信的腐败调查。于是,司法系统和警方几十名职员就因为履行了自己的职务遭到清洗或者逮捕。

2014年,已经当了11年总理的埃尔多安当选为总统之后,就开始寻求将土耳其从一个议会民主制国家转变为一个总统制国家,这在很大程度上是对他的权力不加限制的。在这种背景下,埃尔多安先生在此次未遂政变发生后发表的此乃“来自真主的礼物”一说可谓道破玄机。他进一步清洗政府机关中的异见人士——迄今为止已经有将近七万人被解职了——还变本加厉地打击服务运动和其他公民团体组织。他正在清理通往独裁统治道路上的最后障碍。大赦国际发布的“可信”级别的报告称,那些拘押中心存在包括强奸在内的酷刑折磨行为。难怪埃尔多安先生的政府叫停了《欧洲人权公约》并宣布国家进入紧急状态。

土耳其总统正在通过威胁要叫停与打击IS国际联盟的合作来要挟美国。他的目的是:尽管缺乏可信的证据,也无望举行公正的审判,但一定要将我引渡回土耳其。埃尔多安先生想要什么就给他什么,这种诱惑虽然可以理解,但是美国一定要加以抵制。

和平抗议和民主政治都无法撼动的独裁者的统治之下,那些被迫生活在沮丧绝望中的人们,正是滋生暴力极端主义的沃土温床。在土耳其,埃尔多安政府转向独裁统治的倒行逆施正在派别、政治、宗教和民主等方面将人们两极分化,从而加速了狂热分子的产生过程。

乱世之中,人心思定。有鉴于此,亦为捍卫中东地区民主的未来,美国决不可迁就一个独裁统治者的欺世惑众伎俩——他正将一次未遂政变化作自己的慢火炖锅,逐步煮杀一个立宪政府。

法图拉·葛兰是一位伊斯兰学者、宣教员,也是一位社会活动倡导人。

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2017-06-06T11:37:18+00:00