The lawyers of Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen have denounced recent statements by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in which he held the Hizmet movement responsible for some unsolved murders in Turkey.
In a statement released on Saturday, the lawyers termed Erdoğan's statements as slanderous and “far from intelligence and conscience.”
“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,” the statement said.
Amidst rumors that the government plans to detain some 150 Hizmet-affiliated journalists in a police operation, Erdoğan claimed on Friday that members of the movement are “even implicated in unsolved murders.” “You will see more shocking things,” he added.
Referring to Erdoğan's earlier accusations and insults targeting the movement, Gülen's lawyers said the public heard “really shocking things from the president so far.” “Yet his remarks make it clear that it will be a reality of the new Turkey to blame and target people with police operations without any legal and moral criteria,” the lawyers said.
They also vowed to take legal action against Erdoğan's “slanderous” remarks.
Since a major corruption investigation launched in December of last year, which implicated government ministers and Erdoğan's inner circle, Erdoğan has declared a “war” against Hizmet. He insulted members of the faith-based movement numerous times and directed serious accusations at them. He invented the term “parallel structure” to refer to followers of the Hizmet movement that was inspired by Gülen, particularly followers within the state bureaucracy.
The president, who was then prime minister, framed the corruption investigation as a “plot against his government” by the Hizmet movement and foreign collaborators. He has so far failed to prove his claims.
Published on Today's Zaman, 13 December 2014, Saturday