February 3, 2015

Gülen’s lawyer disputes Anadolu article, saying if true Turkish authorities lied to US

Nurullah Albayrak, the legal representative of Fethullah Gülen, an Islamic scholar in self-imposed exile in the US, released a brief statement on Tuesday regarding an article in Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reporting that Turkish authorities have informed the US that Gülen's passport has been revoked.

Replying to the claims made by Anadolu journalists in an article on Tuesday, Albayrak wrote via his Twitter account: “If this news is true, Turkish authorities have lied to the US authorities. The administrative court has annulled that [passport revocation] process.”

In another post, Albayrak wrote: “The Erzurum Governor's Office annulled Mr. Fethullah Gülen's green passport [a passport given to public servants] on March 28, 2014. We initiated an objection to the annulment process on April 8, 2014.”

Albayrak's statement continued, “The decision of the Erzurum Governor's Office was overturned by the Erzurum administrative court on June 23, 2014,” emphasizing that Gülen's green passport is valid.

On Dec. 20, the 10th Chamber of the Council of State quashed a previous verdict by an administrative court in Erzurum province that ruled that the decision of the Erzurum Governor's Office to cancel Gülen's green passport was illegal. In his statement Albayrak pointed out that Gülen's lawyers have applied for the annulment of the Council of State's decision, and that the Erzurum administrative court's verdict is still binding, therefore granting Gülen's green card validity.Albayrak also dispelled any allegations that his client is preparing to flee the US, saying that Gülen's address is known by both Turkish and American authorities.

Albayrak finished his statement by underlining that legal action would be taken against those who disregard the court's decisions and spread false information.

Responding to claims that Gülen was to be extradited from the US by means of “diffusion,” as the red notice process required by Interpol was deemed to take too long, Albayrak pointed out that these allegations are not truthful. “It is not possible to issue a message of diffusion for a person whose address is known. Mr. Gülen is in the US. Turkish, American and Interpol authorities have information on the whereabouts of Mr. Gülen. In the face of these facts these allegations bear no validity,” said Albayrak to Today's Zaman.

Red notices, issued by INTERPOL's General Secretariat at the request of National Central Bureaus (NCBs) and authorized entities, are international requests for cooperation or alerts allowing police in member countries to share critical crime-related information, whereas diffusion is usually used by a Interpol member country to request assistance from other member countries in locating a fugitive.

“It is understood that those who do not believe the case they have made [against Fethullah Gülen], see Mr. Gülen's [alleged] fleeing as politically beneficial to themselves. But it must be known that Mr. Gülen is at the address he reported, and will continue to remain at this address. Any claims other than this are false,” he said.

Gülen, who was a religious official and preacher from the Religious Affairs Directorate, before resigning in 1981, obtained the green passport in 1991 after a law was passed enabling retired public servants to acquire green passports.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan launched a war against the Gülen movement after a corruption investigation targeting individuals in his inner circle became public with a wave of detentions on Dec. 17, 2013. Erdoğan accused police officials, judges and prosecutors he claimed were linked to the Gülen movement of being behind the investigation, which he branded a “coup attempt.”

Since then, Erdoğan has alleged that the movement, also known as the Hizmet movement, is a “pawn” of “foreign imperial powers” and of an obscure “greater mind” plotting to undermine Turkey.

The investigation stalled when the prosecutors overseeing the case were removed and thousands of police officers, judges and prosecutors were reassigned or removed as part of his fight against the “parallel structure.”

Published on Today's Zaman, 03 February 2015, Tuesday