Davutoğlu associates Gülenists with ‘tunnel of fear’

Davutoğlu associates Gülenists with ‘tunnel of fear’

Davutoğlu associates Gülenists with ‘tunnel of fear’

Turkey's Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu addresses members of the parliament from his ruling AKP during a meeting at the Turkish parliament in Ankara on Sept. 1. AFP Photo

The fight against the “parallel structure” should not be considered as being aimed at a specific community, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has said, adding that an “illegitimate power” was responsible for “terrorizing people” through the illegal eavesdropping and blackmailing cases.

“Whatever you call it, Cemaat, Camia, Hizmet - we don’t have an issue with such a structure,” Davutoğlu said late Sept. 4, speaking in a televised interview.

All three terms are used to refer to the followers of Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, who has been in voluntary exile in the United States for over a decade. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) alleges that the Gülen movement has attempted to topple the government through its followers in the state apparatus.

“This is not an internal matter or a war with their grassroots or sincere people. The issue is that powers want to use the judiciary and the police department against the [current] authority, which uses legitimate political power and which came to power by the votes of the people,” Davutoğlu said.

“Nobody will anymore trespass upon people’s privacy with either this or that excuse and will not be able to create a tunnel of fear. Two years ago, tours to Pennsylvania were almost being organized. Was it because they loved [him] so much? Now, we understand that everybody was going to Pennsylvania to make themselves feel secure because they were asking themselves: ‘Is there a file about me? Will the police come to my door some day? Will any material collected by the police on eavesdropping be sent to the judiciary and will I have to face some [sort of punishment]?’ Nobody in this country will ever feel the need to go abroad to secure themselves [again],” he added.

Pennsylvania is one of the bywords used for Gülen and his followers in Turkish politics. The 73-year-old preacher, who has lived in self-imposed exile in the state of Pennsylvania since 1997, has been accused by the AKP government of orchestrating the graft probes, which targeted officials and businessmen close to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

The Gülenists, who have been accused of forming a “parallel structure” within the state, have also been charged with illegally eavesdropping on hundreds of thousands of people through operations by members employed in the judiciary and the police.