May 2, 2015

Turkish PM Davutoğlu’s claims denied by ex-president Gül and Gülen

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, who claimed to have visited Fethullah Gülen in 2013 with confirmation from President Gül, to convince the Islamic preacher return to Turkey, has been denounced separately by both circles.

“There is something wrong in the part concerning me. I only learned about it [the visit] afterwards,” noted former Turkish President Gül.

This latest controversy is part of a government campaign since late 2013 against the Gülen Movement, also known as the Hizmet movement, consisting of followers and sympathizers of the Islamic preacher. While the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) has tried to frame a key corruption case of the period as a coup plot conducted by the movement, critics have slammed the government for using the movement as a scapegoat. Critics point out that Davutoğlu had once visited the preacher who lives in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania in the US, before the corruption case went public.

“I invited him [Gülen] to return but he refused, saying that it was not time yet. I now understand that he was waiting until December to come back. He was going to return like [Iran's former Supreme Leader Ruhollah] Khomeini,” noted the Turkish Prime Minister.

The lawyers of Gülen denied that there had been any talk over his return. “A conversation in which Gülen rejected Davutoğlu's invitation to Turkey, saying that it was not time yet, has never taken place. This is not a true statement,” tweeted the lawyers on May 1.

Published on BGNNews, 02 May 2015, Saturday