The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday rubbished rumors of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen being responsible for attempting the coup in Turkey and said that the latter had spent his whole life propagating peace and fighting terrorists. Asserting that democracy should prevail in all nations, BJP leader Sudheendra Kulkarni said it is very difficult for him to believe that Gulen can support military takeover in Turkey.
“In the recent past the military in Turkey tried to take over governance, but they failed. And it is good. We should not support military takeover in any country. Democracy should prevail in all the nations. And Fehtullah Gulen is being dubbed as the mastermind of the whole episode. Gulen is a Turkish national residing in America and in the past years on the basis of Islam has been making relentless efforts in propagating peace and denouncing terrorism,” said Kulkarni.
“I don’t think that Fehtullah Gulen will support or participate in any terrorist activity. It is for the government of Turkey to investigate the matter but it is very difficult for me to believe all this,” he added. Earlier, an Istanbul court had issued a warrant for Fethullah Gulen, the founder and leader of what Turkey calls the “Fethullahist Terror Organization,” on charges of ordering the July 15 failed coup attempt in Turkey.
The ruling said Gulen organization, which infiltrated the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) in major cities like Istanbul and Ankara, aimed to take over all the state’s institutions and security bodies by changing the constitution.
It also clearly asserted that the organization, which aimed to become a large and effective political and economic power at the international level, carried out the coup attempt with a group of allegiant soldiers and meanwhile committed multiple crimes.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has dismissed the possible threat of more action on August 14 by the “Fethullahist Terrorist Organization,” which, according to Erdogan, perpetrated the July 15 failed coup attempt.
Meanwhile, the Guardian has reported that lawyers representing the US-based Turkish cleric have said that they fear attacks against his life and suggested that multiple intelligence agencies – including American ones – have long been monitoring his electronic communications.
The Turkish Government has informally requested that Gulen be returned to Turkey, though the US cannot initiate extradition proceedings until formal charges were brought against the cleric. Gulen has lived in rural Pennsylvania since 1999, but does not have US citizenship.The Turkish officials have warned that a failure to extradite Gulen would have long-term consequences for Turkish-US diplomatic relations.
Published on The Indian Express, 8 August 2016, Monday