December 17, 2014

Gülen says many would like to be in detained journalists’ shoes

Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen has said he believes many people, including he himself, would like to be in the shoes of Zaman daily Editor-in-Chief Ekrem Dumanlı and Samanyolu Broadcasting Group General Manager Hidayet Karaca, who were detained in a police operation on Sunday, implying that it is an honor for the journalists to be in custody under Turkey's current circumstances.

In his latest speech broadcast on, a website that usually streams his speeches, Gülen commented on the reactions of people to the detention of several journalists, including Dumanlı and Karaca -- who are still in custody. He said many are talking about the crackdown with smiling faces, as if it had happened in the past.

“I think there are many people who would like to be in the shoes of Hidayet Bey and Ekrem Bey,” Gülen said. “I would also like to be in their shoes just like most of you,” he added.

He also commented on claims that a red notice will be issued for his capture by Turkish authorities, saying he would welcome it with pleasure. “But if they aim to intimidate [me] with this, they should know that real believers never bow to the idea of discord. They always stand upright, with God's permission and help,” he said.

Dumanlı, Karaca and a number of other journalists, columnists, scriptwriters and producers were arrested on Sunday in a large-scale media crackdown. Some of the detainees were later released following questioning.

The operation is thought to be an act of revenge for last year's major corruption and bribery scandal that implicated many state officials and pro-government businessmen.

The corruption scandal went public on Dec. 17, 2013, and implicated then-prime minister and current President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and members of his family and inner circle in addition to businesspeople close to the government. The Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government accuses the Hizmet movement of being behind the corruption and bribery scandal.

A Twitter whistleblower had earlier said that in addition to several journalists, Gülen, who inspired the Hizmet movement, was among the names of those to be detained in operations that would be carried out by the police in the coming days. Gülen currently resides in the US in self-exile. The whistleblower, Fuat Avni, said Gülen was included on the detention list due to pressure from President Erdoğan.

Published on Today's Zaman, 17 December 2014, Wednesday