Gülen Movement-affiliated NGO voices support for controversial petition
by Yunus Paksoy
ISTANBULJan 19, 2016 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Yunus Paksoy
Jan 19, 2016 12:00 am
Amidst heavy criticism and detentions in the wake of a petition co-signed by 1,128 academics, the Gülen Movement-affiliated Journalists and Writers Association (GYV) expressed full support for the petition in a written statement.
The GYV, serving as an apparant mouthpiece for the controversial Gülen Movement, released a written statement on Sunday which offered full backing for the dissenting academics and their right to openly express their opinions.
The statement slammed what it alleges as an attempt to demonize and lynch the academics. "Freedom of thought and expression has always been the main element which contributes to the development of mankind," the statement said.
Some 1,128 academics co-signed a petition last week, in which the Turkish state was accused of murdering children and civilians in ongoing security operations in the country's southeastern provinces. The academics also called on the government to halt its operations at once and stop forcefully displacing Kurds in the region. The petition drew quick criticism from many sectors of society, since it allegedly used the same phrasing as that of the PKK.
Because the petition failed to condemn or even mention the violence due to the PKK terrorist organization, the declaration was interpreted by some as being one-sided. Some of the academics who had co-signed the declaration later withdrew their signatures and apologized to the Turkish public. Dozens of academics were under investigation and some of them have been detained.
Another academic who also signed the declaration was dismissed from his university after posting what was deemed to be hate speech on his Facebook page. The academic described special operation team members as murderers, and said he hopes all police officers die.
The GYV has been lambasted for an alleged double standard over the detention of academics. The Gülen Movement, under whose auspices the justice department has detained more than 10,000 people and locked up some 3,000, including academics within the scope of the KCK case, are nevertheless levying criticism against the detentions of the dissenting academics. The GYV is criticized for having kept silent over the past detentions.
Hüseyin Gülerce, a founding member of the GYV and now a Star daily columnist, spoke to Daily Sabah and said that the statement stands in stark contrast to the main principles of the NGO. "The GYV was founded with the principle of protecting the basic rights of democracy. However, it is now protecting the PKK which aims to destroy democracy," Gülerce said.
Stressing that the statement undermines the GYV's own purposes, Gülerce contended that it came upon the order of Fethullah Gülen, mentioning that Gülen apparently recently called for those affiliated with the movement to consolidate their support for the HDP and the PKK. "As Gülen ordered, the GYV voiced support for the PKK and will continue to do so," he asserted.
Gülerce also pointed to the statement's timing and similarity to that of the U.S. embassy. "The GYV took courage from the U.S," he added.