January 28, 2015

Gülen’s lawyers refute justice minister’s statement likening Gülen to Iran’s Khomeini

Lawyers for Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen have said via Twitter that Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ should have provided proof to back up his statement that Gülen planned to return from the US to Turkey in a similar way to Iran's revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

Reacting to statements by Bozdağ on Wednesday saying Gülen would have returned to Turkey like Khomeini, who returned to Iran from France in 1979, if the corruption probes in December 2013 had caused the downfall of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government, an account run by the Islamic scholar's lawyers tweeted that the allegations of the justice minister have been denied several times by Gülen himself.

AK Party circles and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan have accused the Gülen movement, popularly known as the Hizmet movement, and its sympathizers in the state bureaucracy of planning to overthrow the AK Party government since a huge corruption scandal erupted on Dec. 17, 2013 that implicated key government members, Erdoğan and his family. Erdoğan also accused Gülen of creating turmoil in Turkey and claimed that the Gülen-inspired Hizmet movement is working against the AK Party.

In a confirmation of the existence of a witch hunt by the government, which it has been pursuing against the Gülen movement since December 2013, Bozdağ said in his statement on Wednesday that “new Turkey has stopped that transformation with [the anti-Gülen operations instituted after] Dec. 17, 2013.”

Erdoğan has called the investigation, which led to the resignation of three government ministers and the dismissal of a fourth, a "coup attempt," and in response he has had thousands of police officers, judges and prosecutors removed from their posts.

Gülen's lawyers' tweets also said Bozdağ, as an accuser, is responsible for proving his allegations that Gülen will return like Khomeini. The lawyers noted that the accusations of the AK Party circles against Gülen and the Gülen movement are an attempt to cover up the accusations against the AK Party. “The statement of the minister is irresponsible,” the lawyers wrote.

In a speech on the website www.herkul.org given on June 25, 2008, Islamic scholar Gülen, referring to claims in parts of the media that said "Gülen will return to Turkey like Khomeini [returned to Iran]," said he could not be Khomeini as he was not an Iranian [i.e., does not share the views of Iranians]. "I am a child of this nation. Those who compare me to Khomeini will feel ashamed one day," he said. Gülen said he would return as Fethullah Gülen when he returns to Turkey.

Published on Today's Zaman, 28 January 2015, Wednesday