Fethullah Gülen, one of the sworn enemies of the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, demands in an interview with Die Zeit sanctions against Turkey.
«In Turkey I was a preacher with the state license, my sermon was the material for more than 70 books. All you can read about what I condemn any terrorism. Thank God, today, not all believe that claims of President Erdogan. Anyone who calls other people who preach peace, terrorists, in fact, a terrorist himself,» says Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara considers an enemy of the state.
«I have always rejected political Islam, continues the disgraced preacher. Who makes Islam into a political ideology, betrays his base. One who mixes politics and religion harms both that and another – but first and foremost religion. The Hizmet movement wants to strengthen tolerance and responsibility. To impose on others a belief contrary to its spirit.»
Answering the question of Die Zeit about his support for Erdogan and his party of justice and development party (AKP), Fethullah Gülen draws attention to the fact that Erdogan initially promised to bring Turkey into the EU. «Although in the beginning, when I cited arguments in favor of EU membership, Erdogan’s supporters branded me as an enemy of Islam. The President then changed his mind. He hoped that «Hizmet» is to praise him as the leader of all Muslims, speaking in support of it around the world.»
«When Erdogan founded the AKP, he promised freedom and democracy, would strengthen human rights in the country and to restrict the political power of the military. (…) However, after the third victory of the AKP in 2011, he broke his promises and turned from Parliament in the direction of a presidential Republic».
Referring to the accusations against him regarding his alleged involvement in organizing the attempted coup, Gülen speaks about the lack of evidence against him. «The one who is really involved in the coup attempt, have betrayed not only the power but also the principles of Hizmet. I condemned the coup at the moment when it happened. Then I demanded the formation of an international commission to investigate all circumstances where you would include experts from the USA and Germany. Erdogan did not respond to this proposal. After the coup he stated that waiting for this. (…) Recently, a Turkish officer said that the night was an attempted coup, the General Staff of the army met the chief of staff and head of intelligence. They already knew what would happen. The coup gave Erdogan an opportunity to act at their own discretion: the ministries, the police, the army and the judiciary have been laid off thousands of people. Was arrested lawyers, businessmen, journalists. It all had to be prepared in advance.»
Fethullah Gulen lives in the USA since 1999. Answering a journalist’s question about the split with Erdogan, the preacher says that «in 2006, Erdogan began to change the state officials in accordance with their sympathies. Then I wrote him a letter asking to return to democratic methods. His people threatened to close our educational institutions, which is preparing for the universities, if we don’t support a presidential Republic. We refused. Authoritarianism of Erdogan every day became stronger. At some point I realized that the moment will come – and all the power in the AKP will pass into the hands of this man.»
In an interview with the German edition Gulen denies that his movement conducts subversive activities in Turkey: «My doctrine is not contrary to the Constitution. If the official is sympathetic to the Hizmet, is engaging in illegal or unethical activity, I will be the first, who can blame him».
«Gulen’s opponents accused his supporters of all sorts of sins: they allegedly flooded the police and the prosecution manipulated the evidence in the trials against the Kemalists and nationalists; controlled by the Gulen publication allegedly waged a campaign against the army. According to Ankara, it was thanks to his contacts in the army Gülen managed to organize a coup attempt on 15 July. Appeared the alleged confessions of the coup. However, on the body of the young officer, who allegedly confessed that he is «a member of a parallel organization», were visible signs of torture,» writes the author of the publication Evelyn finger.
Gülen is not afraid of his extradition by the US authorities. Even if America decides to extradite him, «which is unlikely», he buys his own ticket and fly to Turkey. «I am 77 years old, and I’m not afraid of death. To die as a hostage of the oppressor, and to stand before the Creator – it is an honor for me.»
Dwelling on such important issues as Islamist terror, Gülen says that «it is a relatively young phenomenon.» Speaking of ISIS, the preacher indicates that «we must condemn barbarism – including in order to prevent the entry into their ranks of moderate Islam. We need to answer the question about what makes terrorists attractive to young people. Communities should cooperate with state agencies in the fight against extremism.»
«Perhaps we, Muslims, have done something wrong. Perhaps the Almighty punishes us for it today. But without the support of democratic Nations, we, the Muslims, our problems will not solve,» he says.
The situation in Turkey will not change without international pressure. «Turkey will not adhere to any European standards or to perform the conditions of NATO, if the EU, NATO and USA will not have any pressure upon her. I call upon the European community to help us: no sanctions, Erdogan did not stop lawlessness».
Published on Israel Today, 3 October 2016, Monday