May 1, 2015

Gülen’s lawyers: PM’s only correct statement is that he visited Gülen

Lawyers representing Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen dismissed on Friday remarks made by Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu that Gülen rejected an invitation from Davutoğlu to return to Turkey on the grounds that “it was not time yet.”

“Unfortunately, the only correct statement by Davutoğlu is that he previously visited Gülen. During the visit, Davutoğlu and Mr. Gülen never had a conversation about domestic policy and the only matter of discussion between them was the events in Syria,” said the lawyers, who posted tweets on Gülen's official Twitter account on May 1.

The Zaman daily's Editor in-Chief Ekrem Dumanlı stated in a live interview on April 28 that Davutoğlu paid a visit to Gülen along with his family members in 2013, saying that he does not understand why Davutoğlu now makes it sound as if visiting Gülen is committing a crime. After Dumanlı's remarks, Davutoğlu admitted that he paid a visit, saying that he went to warn Gülen to “remain on a legitimate basis” and asked him to return to Turkey.

“I have intelligence reports in my hand. I invited him [Gülen] to return but he refused, saying that it was not time yet. I now understand that he was waiting until December to come back. He was going to return like [Iran's former Supreme Leader Ruhollah] Khomeini,” Davutoğlu told the press in a clear reference to the graft scandal that erupted on Dec. 17 and 25 of 2013 and which implicated then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, some of his close associates and businesspeople affiliated with the government.

However, Erdoğan and the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government blame Hizmet -- also known as the Gülen movement, because it is inspired by Gülen-- for instigating the far-reaching corruption probes that came to public attention on Dec. 17 and 25.

Gülen's lawyers stated in their tweets that during his visits, Davutoğlu only talked about how he was deceived by top Syrian officials even though he had paid open visits to Syria more than 50 times. “A conversation in which Gülen rejected Davutoğlu's invitation to Turkey, saying that it was not time yet, has never taken place. This is not a true statement. After his visit, Davutoğlu said that Gülen was ‘a senior member of the family' and that is why he visited him,” lawyers said.

Published on Today's Zaman, 01 May 2015, Friday