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How did we step into the missionary threat trap?

Today’s Zaman, 09.02.2012

After the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) assumed office in 2002, the “missionary threat” was brought to the agenda of the National Security Council (MGK) out of the blue.

This council had been acting just like a shadow cabinet as it was dominated by top brass commanders and enjoyed powers and authorities that were nearly equal and even superior to those of the government under Law No. 2945. The Secretariat General was the mastermind behind this organization. The decisions made mainly by MGK’s military members would be imposed on civilian members, i.e., the top government executives. In a MGK preliminary meeting held in the fall of 2003 when the ruling AK Party was focusing on promoting the country’s bid to become a full member of the European Union, the “threats from missionaries and non-Muslim minorities” were listed as priority issues to be discussed.

According to the MGK, the country faced a big threat from missionaries and non-Muslim minorities. Hundreds of churches were organizing in the disguise of missionary activities to divide the country. The same mindset urged that the Gülen movement, which appeared as a Muslim movement, was actually “a Trojan horse sent to the country.” There were natural allies to supporters of this mentality that fed on the established perceptions of Armenians and Christians. In his book, “Bi Ermeni var: Hrant Dink Operasyonunun Şifreleri” (There’s this Armenian: The Codes of the Dink Operation) journalist Adem Yavuz Arslan wrote, “Some former Islamists, former ultranationalists, former leftist activists, retired military officers and retired high judges banded together under the roof of the Milli Çözüm magazine and met at various panels and platforms as if they had received a signal from somewhere.” Yes, this was exactly what happened.

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