February 18, 2020 –Rumors of an impending military coup have surfaced again in Turkey’s media and social media platforms loyal to the ruling party.
In the months leading to the horrible July 15, 2016, coup attempt, similar rumors were circulated on the very same channels and platforms to prepare public opinion for the incident, which was then used by President Erdogan to render the parliament powerless, to consolidate power in his hands, and to suspend the rule of law.
Following the July 15 incident, which the ruling party intentionally kept in the dark, Turkey began an internationally condemned witch hunt that oppressed and persecuted hundreds of thousands of citizens, reaching the level of crimes against humanity. The witch hunt has been criticized repeatedly at the highest levels by international human rights watchdog organizations, United Nations rapporteurs, and European Union observers. The mass punishment wave that started on July 16, 2016, has been continuing with the same severity for the past three-and-a-half years and has so far resulted in the oppression of millions of citizens, directly or indirectly.
Out of concern that a similar sinister plan might be at work now, all Turkish citizens and international observers must be vigilant and take calm and prudent steps.
This time, the main opposition party CHP and its voter base are the targets of the rumors, and not the Hizmet movement. Despite this, out of an abundance of caution, we remind the public of Hizmet’s stance on military coups because the group has been scapegoated numerous times in the past.
It is an important principle of democracy, while not the only one, that elected governments should be allowed to serve their term and leave through elections. Neither a military coup nor any other act of violence can offer any benefit to the country.
In the event these rumors come back to target the Hizmet movement, we declare once again that a core value of the Hizmet movement is a commitment to peace and rejection of all forms of violence.
On this occasion, we invite every stakeholder to caution and prudence, we wish that the massive human rights abuses of the past few years are never repeated, and we hope that Turkey becomes an exemplary country in its region with a democratic government that adheres to the rule of law and protects fundamental human rights and freedoms.