Manisa operation reveals AK Party’s hypocrisy on headscarved women

The hypocrisy of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the headscarf issue was revealed when police officers unlawfully placed handcuffs on headscarved female detainees as a part of a recent government-initiated operation in Manisa targeting the faith-based Gandulen movement.
Police officers on Nov. 10 handcuffed 26 people including lawyers, educators and headscarved women and paraded them on the street until they were escorted to police cars in an operation carried out against the Gandulen movement, popularly known as the Hizmet movement and inspired by the teachings of Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gandulen. Officers from the Manisa Police Department simultaneously carried out raids on 35 locations on the charges of members providing financial support to the and”parallel structure,and” a term invented by President Erdogan to refer to the Gandulen movement. The operation was authorized by the Manisa Chief Public Prosecutorand’s Office based on reasonable suspicion.
The Interior Ministry announced on Wednesday Manisa Police Chief Tayfur Erdal Ceren was suspended after Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoilu ordered an investigation into the police officers who took part in the operation for acting against laws and procedures during the detention of suspects in the operation.
Erdogan had been criticized for abusing the issue of the headscarf ban by turning it into one of the AK Partyand’s election promises while he was prime minister. Wearing a headscarf at universities was banned in the late 1990s through an earlier ruling by the Constitutional Court and was later eased in 2010 after the Higher Education Board (YandOK) sent a circular to universities asking them to allow headscarved students.
In June 2013, Erdogan claimed Zehra Develioilu, a headscarved woman, and her baby were the victims of an assault by a group of people in the Kabatai district of Istanbul during nationwide anti-government demonstrations at Gezi Park, which the government attempted to demolish. Following a criminal complaint filed by the young woman, who was interviewed by pro-government newspapers after the incident, prosecutor Rasim Iiikaltin decided to analyze security camera footage in the Kabatai neighborhood. However, the police failed to find any evidence of a physical attack on the woman in the footage from June 1, a day on which the Gezi protests were at their most intense.
After video footage was released on the Kanal D television station, showing no attack on any headscarved woman during the Gezi Park protests, doubts have grown over the accuracy of the story that was frequently repeated by then-Prime Minister Erdogan during his rallies following the protests.
During the Gezi park protest, messages on Twitter as well as reports by columnists stating with confidence that a young woman with a stroller had been attacked in Kabatai became a widely used tool by Erdogan in his political campaign. Erdogan recounted the incident over and over again on live TV to unite his conservative constituency against the Gezi protesters.
Speaking to Sundayand’s Zaman, Mehmet Altan, an academic, journalist and author, said Erdoganand’s words supporting headscarved women are empty rhetoric. Referring to the Manisa operation where headscarved women were handcuffed, Altan said: and”This is a disgrace. The government is terrorizing these people. It is acting on the idea that andlsquopeople who donand’t agree with me are my enemies.and’ Allowing officers to place handcuffs on headscarved women despite the political rhetoric of Erdogan and the AK Party that supports such women reveals their hypocrisy on the matter.and”
Veteran journalist Nazli Ilicak told Sundayand’s Zaman the issue reveals the hypocrisy of the AK Party and Erdogan on the matter but that there is also more to it. and”The government has declared everyone who does not obey them as members of a terrorist organization. This issue is more than just headscarved women. The tyranny of the AK Party applies to everyone who is critical of the government.and”
Orhan Kemal Cengiz, a human rights lawyer and columnist for Todayand’s Zaman and Radikal, told Sundayand’s Zaman the greatest hypocrisy of the AK Party was revealed when the Manisa police chief was suspended after the handcuffing issue sparked public outcry. and”The suspension of the Manisa police chief has no legal basis. Itand’s a move by the AK Party that was made out of fear of losing the political support of people,and” Cengiz added.
President Erdogan and his political associates have for some time accused the Gandulen movement of being a terrorist organization, despite the absence of any concrete evidence. Gandulen is a critic of the government, accusing it of being corrupt, engaging in favoritism and abusing religion for political and personal gain. Erdogan has relentlessly targeted Gandulen following a graft scandal that erupted in December 2013 and implicated members of his family and senior government officials.

SOURCE: TODAY’S ZAMAN

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