Er­do­gan, Turkey and the blame game

Daily Trust - - OPINION - By Nasiru Suleiman

Re­cent de­vel­op­ment in Turkey has lured me to fol­low vir­tu­ally all ac­tions and in­ac­tions of ma­jor stake­hold­ers in that coun­try.

Par­tic­u­larly, the ac­tiv­i­ties of Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan, and the way his party, the Jus­tice De­vel­op­ment Party (AKP), are han­dling op­po­si­tion and ev­ery other con­trary view in the coun­try.

Keen ob­servers of event in Turkey by now should know that Turk­ish Is­lamic Cleric Fethul­lah Gülen has been marked as the num­ber one en­emy of Turk­ish gov­ern­ment. And this would worry those who know the role Gulen played in mak­ing Er­do­gan.

Armed with this fact, there­fore, I was not sur­prised when I saw the video of a press con­fer­ence by Robert Am­s­ter­dam, who is also the found­ing part­ner of Am­s­ter­dam & Part­ners LLP, con­firm­ing the re­tain­er­ship con­tract to con­duct a global in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the ac­tiv­i­ties of the or­ga­ni­za­tion led by Gulen by the Turk­ish author­i­ties.

Robert Am­s­ter­dam said, “We have been re­tained by the Re­pub­lic to ex­pose al­legedly un­law­ful con­duct by the Gülen net­work world­wide”. The ques­tion is, is this man or his firm, the In­ter­pol?

He also said, “The ac­tiv­i­ties of the Gülen net­work, in­clud­ing its pen­e­tra­tion of the Turk­ish ju­di­ciary and po­lice, as well as its po­lit­i­cal lob­by­ing abroad, should con­cern ev­ery­one who cares about the fu­ture of democ­racy in Turkey.” This is bizarre. Who has been hold­ing Turkey down from wear­ing full democ­racy re­galia? How, specif­i­cally, has Gulen or his as­so­ci­ates dis­turb the demo­cratic equi­lib­rium in the coun­try? Who has tried to gag­gle the press, the ju­di­ciary and the par­lia­ment?

Like many discerning minds that saw the press con­fer­ence, it was ob­vi­ous to me that the despotic gov­ern­ment in Turkey is stop­ping at noth­ing in her bid to gag ev­ery dis­sent­ing view. It is rather un­for­tu­nate that a gov­ern­ment would stoop so low to en­gage in such petty mud­sling­ing to smear the name of a cit­i­zen of its coun­try who the rest of the world views in a pos­i­tive light.

It is even shame­ful for a gov­ern­ment to ad­mit that the ju­di­ciary, po­lice of its coun­try has been tak­ing over by an in­di­vid­ual. What then is the busi­ness of the gov­ern­ment? Though ob­servers of events in Turkey know that this ac­cu­sa­tion is a ploy, a way of black­mail­ing the Hizmet move­ment, it was ob­vi­ous that Er­do­gan and his AKP al­lies are jeal­ous of the level of suc­cess the Gulen Move­ment is achiev­ing, par­tic­u­larly in its bid to sup­port other stake­hold­ers to re­store world peace through the in­ter­faith move­ment.

Hizmet move­ment and its var­i­ous af­fil­i­ates were clearly the tar­get and for those who have been fol­low­ing the de­vel­op­ment drive of this move­ment would only laugh off this machi­na­tion to­wards the de­mo­niza­tion of this move­ment by Er­do­gan and his al­lies.

He did not stop at Gulen, but ex­tended his pro­pa­ganda to African lead­ers. He said, “We can­not en­trust an en­tire gen­er­a­tion of chil­dren to a group that claims to up­hold the ‘truth of light,’ yet is it­self cov­ered in dark­ness.” The MOU, ac­tu­ally, clearly in­di­cates that the African Union would de­cide were the schools would be lo­cated. Kimse Yok Mu, the Hiz­ment move­ment af­fil­i­ated NGO re­spon­si­ble for the char­ity ef­forts, would build the schools, while the host­ing com­mu­ni­ties would take pos­ses­sion of them and man­age them. So how does this ef­fort amount to en­trust­ing “an en­tire gen­er­a­tion of chil­dren to a group”? Be­sides, was Am­s­ter­dam say­ing African lead­ers are daft or ir­re­spon­si­ble to have gone into part­ner­ship with Hizmet to es­tab­lish over 1000 schools in Africa?

For those who know and are watch­ing the ac­tiv­i­ties of Hizmet move­ment, they would praise, rather than vil­ify, the move­ment for the great work it is do­ing in most African ci­ties and the world at large. Yes, the move­ment has never hid­den the busi­ness in­ter­est of its af­fil­i­ates and, there­fore, it is ob­nox­ious for any­one to claim oth­er­wise.

Am­s­ter­dam should have asked its client the Turk­ish Gov­ern­ment, who has dis­pensed much en­ergy to gag the press, what is the gov­ern­ment hid­ing that makes the sys­tem to de­test the ac­tiv­i­ties of me­dia in Turkey, which is a clear ev­i­dence that Turk­ish gov­ern­ment is en­gaged in more ac­tiv­i­ties of the dark, which has made the gov­ern­ment syn­ony­mous to fight­ing the press.

Like one of the com­men­ta­tors about de­vel­op­ment in Turkey, Zafer Layik put it that when Peo­ple look at Turkey to­day, they know that the gov­ern­ment is look­ing for some­one to blame for its al­leged cor­rup­tion and un­law­ful ac­tiv­i­ties. Layik also said the gov­ern­ment could hire a com­pany like Am­s­ter­dam & Part­ners LLP to man­age the un­law­ful ac­tiv­i­ties and con­tinue blam­ing some­one who is 100% trans­par­ent for his ac­tiv­i­ties. Layik said that the USA is a great coun­try who will not let peo­ple like you to con­trol them or tell them what to do. This in­ter­view will stay in this com­pany’s his­tory.

Rather than waste Turk­ish resources to en­gage in a lost per­sonal bat­tle that would not ben­e­fit the coun­try any­where, Er­do­gan should in­stead check him­self by ex­pend­ing more en­ergy on peo­ple-ori­ented projects than fight­ing his peo­ple through proxy.

Nasiru Suleiman wrote in from Abuja

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