Speaking to the German-language Süddeutsche Zeitung daily, prominent Islamic Preacher Fethullah Gülen criticized government slander and persecution of dissent.
“The impression is that Turkey is moving away from a state of democratic, secular and social values and turning into a single party, and even further, a one man state,” noted the world-renowned Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, who lives in self-exposed exile in the United States, echoing widely expressed criticism of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the current government.
Gülen further shared his perspective on the status of his home country “Turkey’s reputation overseas is suffering and facing isolation while its society becomes polarized,” adding that “apart from outspoken members of the judiciary, the separation of powers within Turkey has been overhauled.”
Recent judicial reforms which paved way for detainment of individuals on ‘reasonable doubt’ along with a new national security bill categorizing all religious and other civil society organizations as ‘enemies of the state’ are just a few of the developments in Turkey which have been slammed domestically and internationally as a government tendency leaning to authoritarianism.
“The government wants to persecute anyone who does not stand close to them or engage in business with them through a witch-hunt.”
Ever since the 2013-dated December 17 probe which levied corruption allegations implicating the government, the ruling Justice and Development Party is viewed to have attempted to exonerate itself from guilt, blaming the followers and sympathizers of the Gülen referred, to as the ‘Hizmet’, for orchestrating the probe in a plot to overthrow the government. Subsequently, numerous members of the police force and judiciary have been reassigned, fired and locked up, whilst in mid-October the case of the probe was largely dropped. Erdoğan, had even audaciously request that Gülen be extradited from the US.
Gülen expressed that he has no direct affiliation with the members of the police force, judiciary or education professionals who have been purged as Erdoğan publicly claimed. In his interview, the preacher highlighted the fact that the government’s blame game is an “effort to cover-up corruption allegations while seeking to establish an authoritarian regime.”
Emphasizing that Erdoğan’s ongoing campaign to have him extradited from the US has no legal basis, the prominent Islamic Preacher noted “The US is a democratic country with laws, and will not make rulings on anyone without any legal basis.” Gülen also added that any return to Turkey would risk people in power exploiting the situation for their own gains.
On whether the hostilities with Erdoğan can at all be overcome, Gülen underlined that Erdoğan had begun the hostilities and therefore would have to be the one that takes the first step adding “If the day comes that Erdoğan states that all he has been saying in the political rallies were nothing but bad lies and slander then I will be ready to reconcile.”
Erdoğan’s claims baseless
In a statement released on Saturday, the lawyers termed Erdoğan's statements as slanderous and “far from an expression of intelligence and conscience.”
The lawyers of Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen have denounced recent statements by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan which alleged that the Hizmet movement was responsible for some unsolved murders in Turkey.
“It has been once again understood that in the new Turkey, investigations are being carried out at lecterns where political sermons are given or at the pool media [which is created through funds raised by various pro-government businessmen to protect the government's interests] instead of prosecutor's offices. It should not be forgotten that, in the next phase of this situation is that verdicts will be given by the presidency, not courts,” read a statement from the lawyers.
The lawyers also vowed to challenge the claims of Erdoğan; “The judiciary should determine the guilty parties in the unsolved murders, and those responsible should be held accountable in courts. The goal is not to prevent unresolved murders or to find the culprits, but to attempt to blame a community. Necessary legal applications will be made against these slanders which are deprived of any sense of law, consciousness or morality.”
Published on BGNNews, 14 December 2014, Sunday