December 20, 2014

’Arrest warrant for Gülen to damage Turkey’s reputation in the world’

Alliance for Shared Values, a non-profit group that serves as a voice for dialogue organizations affiliated with the Hizmet in the US has released a press statement about an arrest warrant issued by a Turkish court for Fethullah Gülen, saying it will damage Turkey’s reputation in the world.

The statement said with its latest action, the Turkish government has abandoned all sensibilities and crossed important ethical and moral boundaries.

“While not unexpected, it is deeply disappointing to see the government openly abuse its power in order to ensure that it maintains absolute control over its citizens,” the statement said.

“Instead of recognizing Mr. Gülen for his decades of selfless service in peacefully promoting democracy, education and dialogue, [Turkish

President Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan government is using false charges to oppress and harass its own people,” it added.

“This action — taken just days after the arrests of many senior journalists, and exactly one year after corruption probes against government officials began — is nothing more than an attempt to shift public attention away from issues such as corruption, palace scandal, nepotism and efforts to limit press freedoms.”

Stating that the issuance of an arrest warrant, after months of hate speech and threats against Gülen and manipulation of the legal system is a clear indication of political persecution, the statement said such tactics are the hallmark of an autocratic regime.

“Erdoğan government already uses its position to intimidate and threaten its critics. It has now demonstrated it will use any possible means to silence critical voices in Turkish society. Unfortunately, such actions will only achieve one thing: They will continue to polarize Turkish society and damage Turkey’s reputation among nations of the world,” the statement said.

“For the sake of all Turkish citizens, we urge democratic leaders, countries and organizations around the world to strongly condemn Erdoğan government’s actions,” it said.

Published on Today's Zaman, 20 December 2014, Saturday