On July 15, Friday, Turkey witnessed a coup attempt by sections of the military, which has left dozens dead and injured. The attempt has been successfully put down and the government is back in control of the country. At the Dialogue Society, we condemn, in the strongest terms, the attempted military coup in Turkey and reiterate that there is no place for military interventions in democracy.
Turkey has long suffered from the anti-democratic reflex of the military. The achievement of free and fair elections where governments are accountable to the public and power changes hands through the ballot box has been Turkey’s most valuable achievement, which should be protected and cherished at all time.
While admitting the scarcity of information at the early hours of the night, President Erdogan and figures close to him were quick to lay blame on the Hizmet movement. This is a predictable pattern, as Erdogan blames almost all oppositional development in Turkey on Hizmet as a pretext to purge state and civil society. Gulen issued a statement early in the night condemning this coup in the strongest terms, adding “[a]s someone who suffered under multiple military coups during the past five decades, it is especially insulting to be accused of having any link to such an attempt. I categorically deny such accusations.” Leading Hizmet NGOs in Turkey and abroad also issued condemnatory statements last night. Hizmet participants have consistently demonstrated categorical condemnation of such anti-democratic practices and showed strong commitment to the rule of law and functioning democracy. Both Fethullah Gülen’s teachings and the Hizmet participants’ works around the world on dialogue, democratic engagement, active citizenship and social cohesion is the embodiment of this commitment.
We hope those accused with trying to overthrow the government will be tried in courts of law and this incident becomes a source of motivation for strengthening Turkey’s democracy. We are particularly concerned that Turkey’s domestic troubles are used as a source of polarisation of the Turkish-speaking communities overseas and have already received reports from members of hate crime originating out of the UK. We encourage anyone who witnesses hate crime to report it to the police immediately.
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Notes to editors
The Dialogue Society was established in London in 1999 by British Muslims of Turkish background who were inspired by the teachings and example of Fethullah Gülen. It aims to promote dialogue and advance social cohesion by connecting communities through discussion forums, courses, capacity building publications and outreach. The Dialogue Society is not a religious or ethnic organisation, but rather aims to facilitate dialogue on a whole range of social issues, regardless of any particular faith or religion. It stands for democracy, human rights, the non-instrumentalisation of religion in politics, equality and freedom of speech. For more information, see: www.dialoguesociety.org.