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POLITICS >Turkish PM Erdoğan slams Gülen, spares top judge at Istanbul event

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Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan lashed out at Fethullah Gülen, the Pennsylvania-based leader of the Gülen movement, during an event in Istanbul on April 25.

Speaking at a special program organized by imam-hatip schools for Turkey's official Holy Birth Week, dedicated to the birth of the Prophet Muhammad, Erdoğan praised the students' resistance to the 1997 post-modern coup.

Reciting Quranic verses and referring to the last sermon of Prophet Mohammad, Erdoğan claimed that his ally-turned-nemesis Gülen "betrayed" him.

The prime minister criticized Gülen's silence in the face of headscarf bans in Turkey's past, as well as after the military operation against Israel against pro-Palestine activists on the Turkish ship the Mavi Marmara.

"They say that if the person in Pennsylvania says something, it should be true. No, such a notion can lead a person to heresy. This was only true for our Prophet," Erdoğan said.

In an apparent reference to leaked wiretaps of Turkey's massive graft investigation, Erdoğan said: "those who violate the privacy of Muslims, those who watch their houses, disrespected all the honorable values of humanity, let alone the ones of Quran and [Prophet Mohammad's words]. Muslims don't stab their brothers in the back. They don't complain about their brothers to Western countries."

"No betrayal went unpunished," Erdoğan said. Musaylimah, who was killed in Mohammad's time for being a false prophet, was among the historical examples Erdoğan gave.

Erdoğan did not mention the controversial speech delivered earlier April 25 by Constitutional Court head Haşim Kılıç, who harshly criticized the government over its interventions into the judiciary, but several figures from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) reacted to Kılıç.

April/25/2014

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