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 Gulen’s New Strategy for Solving the Kurdish Problem: Why Gülen Was Silent about the Kurdish Problems for Decades

 Opinion — Analysis
  The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author

 


Gulen’s New Strategy for Solving the Kurdish Problem: Why Gülen Was Silent about...  3.11.2011   
By Dr. Aland Mizell - ekurd.net     

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November 3, 2011

Fethullah Gülen, in a recent decree on how to solve the Kurdish problem published on the website Herkul.org, thinks he knows the best solution. Especially when it comes to how to resolve the Kurdish problem, Gulen assumes his way is the best, that his followers are God’s chosen people, and that God gave them this mission. Gülen suggests that the Turkish government should let the Kurdish language be an elective, and then he goes on to blame the previous regime for not letting the Kurdish language be an elective in public and private schools in Turkey. Although he made some excuses mostly blaming the previous regime, Mr. Gulen failed to explain that for thirty years he was cooperating with that same regime and the same military. Mr. Gülen failed to address that if he had wanted peace in Turkey, he should have stood up for justice. Justice must serve not only for his group but also for society as a whole. Also, Mr. Gülen suggests that the Turkish military is strong, but why then can it not defeat a few PKK thugs?             

Muhammed Fethullah Gülen is a Turkish preacher, author, educator, and Sufi Muslim scholar living in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania (USA). He is the founder and leader of the Gülen movement.
So the questions is how can a man of peace and love ask for violence now having turned a blind eye to the Turkish military’s perpetuation of bloodshed for three decades? Mr. Gulen failed to understand that if he really wanted peace, then he should not follow the principle of talking to a friend who praises you all the time; instead you talk to your enemies who do not praise you, and you show love and tolerance to those opponents. Probably Mr. Gulen and his followers will not like these Christian principles; however, for me true men of love, peace, and tolerance should follow this principle: if someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also. What Gulen is suggesting is to do the opposite. According to him, if the PKK cannot lay down their arms, the military should kill them, but it would be far more effective to talk to the renegades and to listen to what they have to say, especially if saving lives has more value than taking them.

Did Mr. Gulen ever criticize the military or the Turkish government when they did not let the Kurds speak their God-given mother tongue or learn their native language in school? Did he explain why he was so silence for three decades, not having said anything about the Kurdish language in his own schools? Did he ever condemn the regime for depriving the Kurdish people of their rights? Mr. Gülen said he and his followers failed to infiltrate all aspects of life of the Kurdish people, to go into their houses, villages, and institutions to assimilate them. Gulen used religion as a tool again for assimilation, but rather he should have focused more on what Saidi Kurdi gave as the prescription a century ago. I wrote about Said Kurdi’s prescription for the Kurdish problem on Kurdish Media in 2008 http://www.kurdmedia.com/article.aspx?id=14465. The Kurds have gone through innumerable hardships, experiencing cruelty, oppression, and injustice. Thirty thousand lives have been lost, thousands of homes have been destroyed, and thousands of Kurdish men and women have been kidnapped or killed with no one knowing what happened to them. Is society divided into two camps? Because none of us, including Mr. Gülen himself, stood up and dared to tell the Turkish government or the military that this is wrong and cruel. Why? Half-truth is often a great lie. Mr. Gülen and the AKP ruling party seized the moment after the Yazici plane crash, and the State ordered a full investigation to reveal what happened to Muhsin Yazicioglu and how his plane crashed, but they failed to order an investigation about what happened to thousands of kidnapped Kurdish men and women? Justice is good for all, or it is good for none. According to the Herkul website, the Zaman newspaper translated Mr. Gulen’s recent statements regarding the Kurds as follows:

When making recommendations for establishing a university called Medresetü’z Zehra in Van during the years of constitutional monarchy, Bediüzzaman [Said Nursi] said Arabic [as an academic language] should be fard [mandatory], Turkish wajib [necessary] and Kurdish jaiz [permitted], and that all three should be taught at the same time. He referred to Kurdish as recommendable. We have not been able to spell this out. … Why was not the Kurdish language allowed in the schools? It would have developed as a language within your system. In this huge country, the United States, Hispanics speak their own language and Italians theirs. You are also allowed to open your own schools where you offer Turkish language as an elect course. Nobody does anything about this.... (Herkul.org, 24.10.2011)

But my question for you, Mr. Gülen, is that you have opened more than 140 schools in the USA and opened schools all over the world offering Turkish, English and each country’s local language, but why have you failed to teach Kurdish in your private schools in Turkey? I would understand if you were afraid of the regime, but is it not true that real Muslims should not be silent against cruelty? You say:

Today, already the government does not have a choice but to let Kurds have their birthright. All who care about our country and our people should remain calm and exercise restraint against agitations and provocations, and avoid retaliatory actions. This problem cannot be resolved by nationalistic reactions and slogans, ‘Martyrs are immortal, and the homeland is indivisible.’ Those who would like for the provocations and seeds of discord to be prevented may peacefully express their opinions through solid and sound reports and declarations that could be forwarded to the authorities as guidance for others.” (Herkul.org, 24.10.2011)

How will Mr. Gülen solve the Kurdish issue? Not by negotiation. Still, he fails to apologize for not letting the Kurdish language be an elective in his schools in Turkey? Since he has so many schools in his native country, why has he not taken Said Kurdi’s idea of opening universities teaching in three languages, including Kurdish, and thereby have solved the problem? William Gladstone, a British politician in the 1800s, said, “Justice delayed, is justice denied.” If Mr.Gulen wants peace in Turkey, he and his followers should work for justice first. Instead Mr. Gülen has praised the military, and when Leyla Zana rightly criticized the military and asked for basic rights, saying that the military conducted illegal war against Kurds,
www.ekurd.net Mr. Gülen condemned Zana and asked her to apologize to the military. The question then arises, “Why did Mr. Gulen turn a blind eye when Saddam was committing massacres against the Kurds? Why did Mr. Gulen turn a blind eye when the Turkish Army illegally burned villages; harassed, kidnapped, and killed thousands of Kurdish men and women? Mr. Gulen and his chosen followers do not talk about the Kurdish Ergenekon? When will the Kurdish Ergenekon be unveiled? Why does Mr. Gulen not talk about the Turkish Gladio’s collaboration with Iran in the 1990s under the name of Hezbollah to make Kurds kill Kurds, at a time when this organization killed or executed thousands of Kurdish patriots?

Mr. Gulen and his followers are trying to change the world, but they never think of changing their attitudes toward the suffering of the Kurds. They should know that without justice, courage is weak and ineffectual. Why do he and his Gulenists’ media ignore the Kurdish Ergenekon? So many Kurdish men and women have been kidnapped or killed, yet when will the perpetrators face justice? Today, Mr. Gülen knows the military no longer has power, and therefore, he is not scared of the army anymore. In asking why Gülen now is rising up, the inquirer must note the obvious. He is no longer afraid of a military poised to defend secularism. Now, he declares that Kurds have a right to have education in their language. Yet, today Kurds who defend their basic rights, fight against the regime, and are especially eager not to let Gulenists function well in the Kurdish region like they do other places in Turkey, are labeled “Bad Kurds or Terrorists.” By contrast, those who praise the Gulenists and do not say anything against him, assimilating into Turkishness, have become “Good Kurds.” This is a double standard. I hope Gulenists give up the double standard and support the Kurd’s justified struggle for freedom and a peaceful solution, not what Gulen suggested-- assimilation. In Mr. Gulen’s regrets he pines about his followers’ failure to assimilate the Kurds, to infiltrate Kurdish households and cities, and to infuse Gulen’s ideas into every aspect of local Kurdish life.

Defending rights of any individual is a human obligation. It is sad to say that so many at least nominal Muslims and a self-proclaimed defender of love and tolerance failed in that obligation. The Kurdish situation in Turkey used to be the most severe and oppressed in the entire region. In the last three decades the Kurds led a very determined struggle for freedom, and they obtained results although with great cost. Mr. Gülen realized that the government could not overcome its problems using its old political methods of pressure, kidnapping, distorted ideas, assimilation, violence, denial and destruction. Mr.Gulen has been glamorized globally for advocating peace tolerance, and love as well as teaching Turkish language in his schools around the world. Can that world not see that his actions are not consistent with his message and force Mr. Gülen to make some changes in his strategy to undertake some positive steps, not because he has a love for Kurds but because he knows God proclaims that it is right thing to do; however, these steps are too small and are far from resolving the problem. At the present moment, the law still does not recognize the most basic human rights of the Kurds, including language and culture, and the Kurdish children cannot learn their mother language at school. But Mr. Gulen failed to demand that the government ask the Kurds for an apology for causing all the sufferings and pain. Since so many people follow him in Turkey and since he is the government inside the government. Mr. Gulen addresses his followers acknowledging that they failed to assimilate the Kurdish people, but at the same time, he wears a blindfold when he sees Prime Minister Erdogan’s criticism of the German immigration policy towards the Turks, claiming that assimilation is a crime against humanity, even though Kurds have had a “do or die” policy to force their assimilation in Turkey.

A Republic should stand for justice and public order, but even today justice is delayed and thus denied in the Republic of Turkey. However, power’s dominance is transitory while truth, equality, and justice’s dominance is eternal, and no one has the power to take away God-given rights.

Dr. Aland Mizell is with the University of Mindanao School of Social Science, President of the MCI and a regular contributor to the Kurdish Media. You may reach the author via email at: [email protected]

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  The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author

 
 

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