Can the Gülen Community be finished off by force?
The world has seen numerous trials which were attempts to finish off certain social groups by force. In the US, Joseph McCarthy spurred the FBI into action to wipe out Communists from the country. He now sits on display in humanity's gallery of shame.
Adolf Hitler sought to annihilate the Jewish community with his intelligence apparatus and police brutality. The Holocaust is now a persistent source of shame for Germans.
In Egypt, Gamal Abdel Nasser declared the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) a terrorist organization and jailed leading MB leaders, claiming that the MB was masterminding his attempted assassination.
Nasser believed he could finish off the MB by imprisoning its members.
The most horrible attempt at finishing off a community by force in the Middle East was Hafez al-Assad's Hama massacre of 1982. Assad, too, claimed that the MB would try to assassinate him and used this as an excuse for slaughtering tens of thousands of people in Hama. He thought he could eradicate the MB.
The excuses and methods Nasser used in his fight against the MB were very similar to those of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Today, Egypt's elected dictator, Abdul Fatah al-Sisi, is employing methods against the MB which are similar to those Erdoğan is using against the Gülen community.
In so many of these cases, what happened in the end? Were the dictators successful, with their brutal methods against social groups or religious communities?
Of course not. Instead, they took their places in the gallery of shame. Relatives of most of them don't want to share their surname.
Does Erdoğan, who knows very well that the MB couldn't be destroyed by force, think he can finish off the Gülen movement by force?
Of course not. He knows intimately that social groups cannot be eradicated through brute power. He is aware of the fact that it is impossible to destroy a community if that community categorically rejects the use of violence.
The excuses Erdoğan has put forward are contradictory. Even his party does not believe his excuses anymore and, because of this, he has recently begun threatening them.
I think Erdoğan's intention is to "build his shanty on the land that legally belongs to the Gülen community." This is what I have been repeating for years. In November 2013, i.e., ahead of the events of September 17, I repeated this claim using the same wording. If Erdoğan does not have such a goal, why are organizations and foundations that are close to Erdoğan trying to emulate the Gülen movement?
Erdoğan is shutting down the prep schools (dershane), but his son-in-law rushes to enter the dershane market?
Let me explain by referring to a Savings Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF) analogy. Just as he established pro-government media outlets with the help of the TMSF, Erdoğan seeks to establish a pro-Erdoğan community using the TMSF/police. Therefore, he sees anything in the Gülen community that he can destroy as a gain.
Whoever has been advising Erdoğan to do these things is not doing him any favors. You cannot destroy or establish a community by force.
In my opinion Erdoğan's operations will pave the way for the Gülen community's growth. First of all, the Community will be cleared of the sins of cooperating with Erdoğan in the past.
Moreover, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) has closed down the prep schools. The children of the people who are close to the Community will prepare for examinations at the houses run by the Community. However, the children of the conservatives who voted for the AKP in the villages and towns of Anatolia won't have any prep schools to attend, and they won't be able to attend good universities, while the children of Community members will get into the best universities. This will create greater opportunities for these children.
After a while, people will show renewed interest in the Community and it will prepare their children for university. As there are no prep schools, they will take their children directly to the houses run by the Community.
A student who attends a Community-run prep school will become a supporter of the Community. Erdoğan is well aware of this fact, as his children and son-in-law attended such prep schools. But a student who attends these Community-run houses is very likely to become an ardent supporter of the Community.
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