What would you say about headlines like “….. he was discharged from the army due to connections with the Gulen community” which appear from time to time?
This institution (the army) has certain conditions when admitting, as well as discharging, their staff. This needs to have a more lawful structure. Mr. Suleyman Demirel (former president of Turkey) once said, “There are certain times which are times of tale-bearing.” No one can be saved; those who are reported are gone. Someone may feel uneasy about another person, and this is sufficient to label them as an “—ist,” leading to their discharge. Does this —ist really exist? Anyone can be associated with anything; what needs to be done is for the existence of the —ists to be searched for in a genuine manner. There needs to be a scrupulous investigation to discover on what grounds a person was discharged and the law must decide this matter. Intelligence agencies must pursue those staff that were discharged to see if there were or are genuinely such connections.
Are there people in the army who admire you?
Some may do; I cannot say anything about this. I came across a retired military man who told me, “I used to listen to your sermons and had many of my higher and lower ranks to listen to them.” I think many people from all occupations came to the sermons in the mosques and participated in the conferences. Perhaps there are a few people who have not listened to these sermons in Turkey; whether they were worth listening to is another issue. I told those people who listened to and recorded these sermons so many times that theirs was an action in vain. One of them said, “I am doing this not to gain your love; you speak and I record.” What else could I say? I would call it to be a wrong conviction (about me). And it is not my duty to restore a wrong conviction.
Such associations are forged by some people in order to nurture grudges. I hope this institution (the army) can develop some reformations that will lead to them being able to attain more reliable results with the necessary investigations and assessments. Is the reason why these people were discharged that they violated discipline or disobeyed a command? We have recently heard of some people being discharged because they were involved in various misuses and thefts. However, these crimes are sometimes ignored; calling someone this or that —ist is a more serious event! This is the army, soldiers obey their commanders. There are no —ists among them.
Have you organized a secret mob within the Security Department and Armed Forces?
I don’t know how I could possibly organize something like that while I am here. This matter needs to be investigated; who are the members of this mob? They should try to find this out. Once, they revealed a list of a so-called “mob within the Security Department.” It was later concluded that the names on that list belonged to people who held completely opposing worldviews! Perhaps, some people again felt uneasy of others. They made a list of their own to earn credit for themselves and to defame others.
How can one organize within the army? These people in the army, they have officers commanding them who represent the Republic, secularism, and democracy. They would not allow any opportunity for such an organization to come into being. They would not tolerate such developments (even) in the attitudes, feelings, and thoughts of people. I find it difficult to understand such claims.
Have you ever instructed people around you to “capture certain schools”?
Some time ago, I said publicly, at the pulpit of the mosques, “why only Qur’anic schools? Enroll your children in Imam-Hatips (a type of secondary schools where religious studies are taught to fulfill the need for religious staff).” Later I said, “Why do you send your children only to Imam-Hatips? Why not other schools too? Why not universities and military high schools and academies?” I said all of this; why am I being asked about something that I expressed publicly? Should I make an announcement in the press or on TV, saying “I once told you this and that, but that was a mistake; do not send your children to other schools. Enroll them only in Imam-Hatips and Qur’anic schools. Never even dream that your children can go to schools of law, courts of justice, or military academies. Let other people send their children, not you.” I frankly expressed my views in the mosques and at conferences. And if some of the listeners have directed their children accordingly, I cannot say “I have changed my mind.”
What were your expectations when you expressed these views in your sermons?
The people of Anatolia should be involved in all aspects of life. Why should they not be? What are they afraid of? They did not send their children to schools; they thought it was enough for them to study the Qur’an. There are still such people in the east, in the south-east. On TV, very recently, it was reported that a mayor of a town visited homes to encourage families to send their daughters to school and he was giving these girls a lift in his own car. This is what the state policy is. Once it was only Qur’anic schools, and then people started to question the excess number of Imam-Hatips and schools of theology. Why should there be only one kind of a school available, not others? Why cannot a citizen enroll his child in any Turkish school? I thought this was a duty to society and thus, expressed my views. If (some people think) that these views are wrong, then they should stand up and say that this is what they think.
Source: This is part of a 11-day interview by Mehmet Gundem with Mr. Fethullah Gulen that was printed on Milliyet newspaper in January 2005.Tags: Defamation of Hizmet | Fethullah Gulen |
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