June 29, 2016

Fethullah Gülen lawsuit thrown out in setback for Turkey's Erdoğan

A US judge has dismissed a human rights lawsuit against Fethullah Gülen, a US-based Turkish cleric who is a former ally turned prominent critic of his home country’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
The lawsuit, funded by Turkey, had claimed the Muslim cleric in Pennsylvania orchestrated human rights abuses in his native Turkey.

Erdoğan’s government funded the civil suit as part of a crackdown on the cleric and his movement.

Gulen’s attorneys had called the suit “pure political theatre” and an attempt by Erdoğan to silence Gülen, who has criticised the Turkish leader.

The suit contended that Gülen ordered sympathetic police, prosecutors and judges in Turkey to target members of a rival spiritual movement critical of his teachings.

US District Judge Robert Mariani in Scranton dismissed the suit on Wednesday.

A spokesman for Gülen’s defence said the “US justice system worked as it should.”

The plaintiffs’ attorney had no immediate response.

Published on The Guardian, 29 June 2016, Wednesday