Sunday, August 17, 2008

Gülen’s new decree for the Kurdish problem in Southeastern Turkey: Steal the mind, leave the body 06/01/2008 - By Aland Mizell

Recently the Turkish based Zaman newspaper reported that Fethullah Gulen had filled planes with Turkey’s top businessmen and flown them to southeastern Turkey so they could go door to door to distribute meat and other foods to the poor in key cities. What is the impetus for this generosity? How could an Islamic scholar command such obedience and power? There is an African proverb that says whoever controls the mind controls the seat of power because the mind is the emperor of the body. An individual does not form a dictatorship in order to guarantee revolution; instead this activist makes a revolution to create a dictatorship. Today, Fethullah Gulen, founder of an Islamic educational movement and spiritual leader of tens of thousands of devotees around the world, has made a social revolution in Turkey. He is now one of the most influential people in Turkey. His followers will act upon whatever he says, doing what he wills. Most of his followers almost worship him. Some of them even dream about him, because they believe that if you have a dream about him, you are dreaming about Muhammad. Most of them believe that Gulen is the Mehdi or the century’s holy man, doing extraordinary things and predicting the future. Is it really true? Can Gulen predict the future? Why did Gulen not do anything for three decades to stop the bloodshed and violence in Southeastern Turkey that has taken more than 30,0000 lives, mostly Kurds, left millions of Kurds homeless, and destroyed the crops? Or does Gulen have good sources of information within the government? According to one of his closest confidents, Hussein Gulerce, Gulen’s empire is “a movement of love that unites people around the world by universal values for new human revival and establishes peace instead of conflict; it builds bridges and isles of peace and breaks the waters both at home and in the world at large, so wherever there is fire, the warriors in an army of love immediately run to the spot as spiritual firemen” (Huseyin Gulerce, Today Zaman, 11/29/07).

Today southeastern Turkey is in flames; the Kurdish people one more time are being labeled as terrorists. What kind of bridge of love and isles of peace is Gulen building in southeastern Turkey? Did Gulen ever dare to stand up against the unjust military presence involved in burning houses, kidnapping Kurds, raping women, and depriving everyone of the most important right of speaking their own language? Did he ever mention in public that the Turkish government is wrong and that Erdogen’s policy is oppressive? Mr. Gulerce argues that Gulen knew this danger decades ago and that is why Gulen opened schools in the region. So the question is, “How did Gulen help the Kurdish people by opening schools?” Yes, it is true that Gulen indoctrinates thousands of poor but very smart Kurds to deny their existence as a Kurd by not saying, “I am Kurd,” but instead teaches them to say, “I am Turk” Assimilating them so that they leave their identity behind is like stealing their mind but leaving their body, capturing their souls but leaving them only their empty wicker cage after the bird has gone. Can a body function without a mind? Gulen’s education system is doing just that by indoctrinating young Kurdish minds in southeastern Turkey but never speaking up against oppression and unjust treatment of Kurds. Why does Gulen now see the importance of winning the hearts and minds of Kurds by his tactic of distributing meat and sending businessmen to the region? It is because Gulen saw that danger is coming and that Kurds are wakening up from the drug of religion, no longer believing all the lies and deceptions but rather speaking up for justice and the right treatment of Kurds. Also, Gulen saw that the Kurds are gaining power on the ground that they did not have twenty years ago. Today there are more than fifty-two Kurdish mayors and municipal leaders who would speak without any fear against the government policies. Twenty years ago, there were no mayors, such as Osman Baydemir, who would speak against the government’s wrong policies and would dare to tour Europe and U.S. to allow for the voice of Kurds to be heard. Gulen’s biggest fear is losing power over minds, and that is why his Zaman followers and media defame the Kurdish people’s character. That is why he advised those with such wealth to go to southeastern Turkey to spend the Feast of Sacrifice Eid there to distribute the meat of sacrificed animals to poor Kurdish people by going to door to door. Gulen gave a new decree and a new kind of mobilization to assimilate Kurds and to steal their minds by injecting religious ideology and by causing them to sell their birthright.

Gulen believes that if Turkey does not solve the southeast’s social and economic problems, then the Kurdish people there will look somewhere else for answers like the Kurdish Autonomous Region in Northern Iraq. Therefore, he posits that if the government stops unemployment as part of the Kurdish problem, then the Kurds will not look toward other places. Especially now that there is tension between the Kurds and the Turks because many Turks see Kurds as terrorists and killers, Gulen has tried to be the good guy and give a decree to let his followers spend the Eid with Kurdish people in southeastern Turkey. For many years Turkey tried to solve the Kurdish problems in two ways: (1) by military force and (2) by religion. The Turkish military has been striking the Kurdistan Worker Party camps in Northern Iraq for weeks and thereby violating the territorial integrity of Southern Kurdistan in Iraq. As the media, government, and military report, the military operations are very successful and will root out the PKK this time. The Turkish military has conducted the same operations in the past, but they did not change anything. Why should it make a difference this time? In other words, what makes this operation different from other operations in the past? Many argue that for many years the government did not want to solve the PKK problem, because if the military did so, then there would be no reason for the military’s presence. Thus, the military benefits from the situation there. The Turkish government believes that this time the world is behind them, especially that the United States and Israel will help Turkey to eradicate the Kurdish problem. This is a false hope; as long as the Kurds in Turkey are socially, economically and culturally not free, the Kurdish questions will not be solved, and as a corollary, the U.S. and Israel will use the Kurdish card for a long term for their national interest. No one is certain that these military operations will bring solutions to the Kurdish question. It is a fact that the Kurdish question never will be solved with military operations, as many Turks recognize. As long as military operations continue, the Kurdish problem will remain unresolved because now Turkey is trying to solve the Kurdish problem by labeling it a terrorist issue and always blaming the Kurds for all the problems, but never realizing the Turkish government has carried out the wrong policy toward Kurds. As we recently witnessed, some Turkish government officials, including retired generals, former presidents, and the leader of the 1980 coup, Kenan Evren; former Chief of General Staff, Hilmi Ozkok; and others admitted that they used the wrong method and policy to solve the Kurdish problem. They admitted that the wrong policy in the region caused the issue to deteriorate and indeed that three decades of the presence of the military in the region has only exacerbated the violence and hatred. As long as Turks do not accept the Kurdish people as a unique culture and people of the region cannot speak their language and exercise their culture without being labeled a terrorist or traitor, the problem will remain and be unsolved. The Turkish government must have a program for integration and policies that will remove stereotypes of the Kurdish people.

The second way used to tackle the Kurdish question is religion and ideology, which has been very effective for many decades. If today, many Kurds do not associate themselves with violence, terrorist activities, or any kind of prejudice, it is because Islam strongly rejects racism, prejudices, and superiority. However, some Islamic sects like Gulen’s use religion as the proverbial opium for the masses to oppress the Kurdish people. His rhetoric claims that Islam does not sanction an inferior or a superior status. In Islam, an individual is deemed superior only if he is close to God. The Qur’an states that God created all nations and tribes, and therefore no individuals or nations are to be favored because of their wealth, power, or race, but only because of their faith and piety (Qur’an 49:13). Therefore, only infidels are inferior, but Gulen goes further alleging that Islam can be best represented only by the Turks, thus claiming the superiority of the Turks. The Kurd will be chastised for establishing his identity in terms of his ethnicity and be challenged to think of himself as a Muslim only, united with his Islamic brotherhood, as the Qur’an requires. If he claims a shared allegiance to his ethnic heritage, he will be charged with being prejudiced and reminded of his brotherhood; thus Gulen tanquilizes his followers into submission. Kurds will be oppressed while the religious demagogies keep silent with the same tactics. When it comes to the Kurdish question, the world will note that illiteracy, the mortality rate, and unemployment are high. Many Kurds are living with their cattle in the winter because they cannot afford to buy enough coal or wood to provide heat for their children during the freezing winter.

These advocates of homogeneity and opponents of racism tried to turn attention to their Muslim brotherhood by obliterating Kurdishness. Now they have launched a campaign against giant Kurdish politicians and have tried to show that Recep Tayyip Erdogan is the true represent of the Kurdish people, not the DTP [pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party in Turkey] members. Gulen never cared about the Kurdish problem, and for three decades he never talked about the Kurdish suffering and the barriers that prevent Kurds from enjoying social, economic and political freedom. Why is Gulen now nervous and very excited about helping the suffering Kurdish people? Kurds have suffered for thirty years. Why did his followers not do these kinds of charity back then? The exigency today is that Gulen believes that DTP Kurdish party is getting stronger and that the Kuridsh politicians are now more outspoken about their problem. The second reason is that Gulen is disturbed by Northern Kurdistan’s development, and Kurds are building schools, banks, and roads and thereby getting prosperous. Gulen does not want to lose power. Despite all the media’s enmity, the government’s harsh policies, and the ten percent threshold for elections, significantly, the Kurdish people have sent more than twenty Kurds to Parliament to be their voice. It is true that Gulen does have a depth of knowledge about Islam but also that he uses it to his advantage. When the question of the Kurds comes on the table, Fethullah Gülen sends a mixed message. He tries to assimilate Kurds by emphasizing the Ottoman ideology in his schools, causing many Kurds to see themselves as Osmanli Turks rather than as Kurdish. Mr. Gülen privileges Turkish identity over Islamic religion. Gülen Turkifies Islam in a nationalistic homogeneity as an opium.

Aland Mizell is with the University of Texas at Dallas School of Social Science. President of MCI,

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Anonymous said...

Please visit the following links to learn more about Fethullah Gulen and the movement inspired by him.
Fethullah Gulen
Fethullah Gulen Movement

Anonymous said...

better than that you should read
And then google Gulen Weebly.