February 18, 2015

Pro-government press to face legal challenge over slander and lies

Lawyers of Islamic Scholar Fethullah Gülen released a statement in response to the defamatory pro-government media accusations that Gülen held sex tapes of Republican People’s Party (CHP) delegates, decrying them as mere lies and slander.

“To accuse innocent people of a crime without any evidence or basis is an equally heinous act, just as recording individuals’ private lives is, and engaging in blackmail for political reasons,” read a statement from Nurullah Albayrak after pro-government outlets claimed that Islamic scholar had tapes of 45 CHP delegates.

In the written statement Albayrak also brought up the patterns that pro-government media employ to manipulative stories and slander their opponents. He cited the example of a bogus story about a headscarved women being attacked by protesters during the 2013 anti-government Gezi Park protests, which turned out to be a clear lie, demonstrated by camera footage from the scene.

The lawyers further challenged the pro-government press, emphasizing “from the first day when claims of the illegal wiretaps and video recordings appeared, Mr. Gülen openly expressed that the culprits of such eavesdropping should be found and brought to justice,” they said, adding that instead of investigating the cases, the government has instead focused efforts on scoring political points.

Mr. Gülen’s lawyers added that legal action would be taken against the slanderous claims.

Independent parliamentarian also targeted

Former Turkish international football star and independent parliamentarian Hakan Şükür also slammed the defamatory campaigns of the pro-government press, adding that his lawyers would take action.

Pro-government outlets had claimed that Hakan Şükür was being controlled through threats by pro-Gülen circles and a Twitter whistleblower known as Fuat Avni. Hakan Şükür expressed he would file suit, speaking out against the defamation of himself and others.

The former Galatasaray and Inter Milan star was also the target of false accusations when a Justice and Development Party (AK Party) delegate claimed that Şükür and his brother had planted cash in the house of state-owned Halkbank CEO Süleyman Arslan. Notably a police raid in a 2013 corruption probe had discovered millions of dollars and euros in the home of the chairman.

Şükür said that the defamation was part of a government plan to sway attention away from its scandals and corruption.

Published on BGNNews, 18 February 2015, Wednesday