7th January 2015, Brussels
We strongly condemn the inhuman attack on the headquarters of the French weekly Charlie Hebdo that took place in Paris today. There is no circumstance or condition that would justify such brutality. Ideas can only be challenged through ideas – not through violence, cruelty or terrorism.
We express our deepest sympathy and thoughts for the victims and extend our condolences to their friends and families. We also pray for the speedy recovery for the injured and call upon everyone to stand together and united against such murderous acts.
The disgraceful action of issuing an arrest warrant for Mr Gulen is the latest step of various human rights violations, character assassinations, defamation, hate speech, incrimination and unlawful conduct perpetrated by Erdogan’s government against the Hizmet movement in Turkey and elsewhere.
The arrest warrant was only issued after a series of amendments were made to the relevant laws and legal system, including the dismissal of judges and prosecutors and reassignment of new ones, all of which runs contrary to the rule of law, the separation of powers, fair trial and the legal standards set by international covenants to which Turkey is a signatory country. This action clearly proves that Erdogan and his government are abusing its power to intimidate and threaten its critics – hallmarks of an autocratic regime.
The warrant and the recent arrests of journalists took place on the first anniversary of the corruption investigations which implicated Erdogan and his inner circle. Many have interpreted the timing of these recent arrests as an attempt by the government to distract public attention away from the corruption investigations, the presidential palace, nepotism and efforts to censor critical press and commentary.
Mr. Gulen has consistently encouraged people to promote democracy, education and dialogue over the decades. Instead of recognizing this service, Erdogan`s government issues false charges to bully, harass and distract.
The Erdogan government’s repressive actions and policies to silence critical voices in Turkey will not only lead to further polarization of Turkish society but also derail the country’s course for membership of the European Union.
We urge European leaders, countries and organisations to support Turkish democracy and increase their efforst to speed up Turkish accession process while at the same time to condemn increasingly anti-democratic actions of the government.
About Dialogue Platform
Dialogue Platform is a Brussels-based non-profit association which serves as a platform for Hizmet-affiliated dialogue institutions in Europe. Mr. Fethullah Gülen, the Turkish-Muslim scholar whose teachings and works inspired the Hizmet Movement, holds the honorary presidency of the platform.
On Sunday December 14, 2015, the Turkish police raided the headquarters of Zaman daily, which has the highest circulation in Turkey, and detained Mr. Ekrem Dumanlı, the editor-in-chief, Mr. Hidayet Karaca, the CEO of Samanyolu Media Group as well as other journalists, producers, and scriptwriters. This is another worrying signal for the deterioration of democracy and freedom of expression in Turkey. The independent media has been the target of the Turkish government due to its opposition to increasingly authoritarian policies and laxity against the serious corruption charges.
It is not surprising that these arrests took place just days before the anniversary of corruption scandal which shook the government of Turkey last year. Since then, the government has passed a series of legislations taking the country opposite direction from the democratic values and European Union.
Participants of Hizmet movement remain committed to democracy, fundamental human rights and freedoms. Detention of people in the media reflects a new level of repression by Erdogan’s regime.
We urge the proponents of freedom of expression and the friends of Turkey in Europe to stand against the anti-democratic actions, and raise their voice for the freedom of press, rule of law and fundamental rights to save the democracy in Turkey.
August 22, 2014
ISIS Cruelty Deserves Our Strongest Condemnation
As a practicing Muslim deeply influenced by the tenets of my faith, I strongly condemn the brutal atrocities of the ISIS terrorist group. Their actions are a disgrace to the faith they proclaim and are crimes against humanity. Religion provides a foundation upon which to establish peace, human rights, freedoms and the rule of law. Any interpretations to the contrary, including the abuse of religion to fuel conflicts, are simply wrong and deceitful.
ISIS is not the first group to use religious rhetoric to mask its cruelty—Al Qaeda did so 13 years ago and Boko Haram more recently. What they all have in common is a totalitarian mentality that denies human beings their dignity.
Any form of violence against innocent civilians or persecution of minorities contradicts the principles of the Qur’an and the tradition of our Prophet (upon whom be peace and blessings). ISIS members are either completely ignorant about the faith they proclaim, or their actions are designed to serve individual interests or those of their political masters. Regardless, their actions represent those of a terrorist group and, as such, they should be brought to justice and compelled to answer for their horrific crimes.
I send my heartfelt condolences to the families of the deceased in Iraq and Syria, and to the families of James Foley, Steven Sotloff and David Haines. May God give them strength, patience and perseverance, and alleviate their suffering. I also pray for the immediate and safe release of hostages and ask God, the Merciful, to lead us all toward mutual respect and peace. I invite everyone around the world to join me in these prayers.
Islamic scholar, preacher and social advocate
Turkish muslim scholar Fethullah Gülen has extended condolences for victims of the coal mine blast in western Turkish town of Soma, wishing speedy recovery for injured workers.
“They were working in the most dire conditions to make the ends meet for their families,” Gülen said about the victims, adding that no word would be a consolation and no word would express the pain of separation. “We can do nothing except pray for them and share their pains with wept eyes,” Gülen stressed.
He wished that trapped mine workers will be saved soon.