Erdoğan-Gülen rift hits European Parliament talks
Uğur ERGAN Hürriyet/ANKARA
Ria Oomen-Ruijten, the European Parliament’s Turkey rapporteur, (C) is seen during a meeting with Turkish delegation led by EU Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu. AA photoThe Turkish government’s rift with one-time ally Islamic scholar Fethullan Gülen has come onto the agenda of the European Parliament, after a lawmaker suggested inviting a representative from the Gülen movement to speak at a meeting on Turkey’s progress report.
The offer was made by Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, the vice-chairman of the Liberal Group in the European Parliament, during discussions on the report prepared by the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee (AFET).
Recalling that journalist Ahmet Şık was listened to at the European Parliament during previous discussions on Turkey’s progress, Lambsdorff said representatives of the Gülen movement might be similarly invited.
“Şık has enlightened us in many issue, and we can learn much about what’s going on [in Turkey] from the Gülen movement. We can enable this issue to be discussed in a more transparent atmosphere,” Lambsdorff said.
However, the idea was rejected by Ria Oomen-Ruijten, the European Parliament’s Turkey rapporteur, who said “the only authority we will take into account is the Turkish state and government.”
“This movement is active in the United States and in several places across the world. We have to take into account only one authority, the Turkish Republic and its government,” said Oomen-Ruijten, the author of Turkey’s latest draft report.
Meanwhile, Hüseyin Gülerce, a prominent Gülen-affiliated figure, has denied claims that the Gülen movement would be forming a political party. “If we understand this movement correctly, then we can loudly say that it will never form a party,” Gülerce wrote in his column in daily Zaman on Feb. 12.