Former President Gül denies any link to Gülen group

Former President Gül denies any link to Gülen group

Former President Gül denies any link to Gülen group

DHA photo

Former Turkish President Abdullah Gül has said he never had any links with the Gülen group throughout his political career following a July 2016 coup attempt that was blamed on the group’s U.S.-based leader, Fethullah Gülen.

“I regret to see that some of the questions that have been prepared by your commission have been written in a way that was inspired by the wrong and distorted news that I have rejected in various ways,” Gül said in a written statement given to a parliamentary commission set to investigate the July 15, 2016, coup attempt and the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) on Jan. 4. The commission asked 27 questions to the former president who replied to them in a nine-page statement.

“I have neither personal experience nor valuable knowledge about [FETÖ], as I didn’t have any relation with this organization or with its leader both during my political career and before my political life,” Gül said. 

During his post as foreign minister in 2004, Gül said former President Ahmet Necdet Sezer and former Chief of General Staff Gen. Hilmi Özkök drew attention to the threat the Gülenist structure during National Security Council meetings. 

He also stated that he was disturbed by the aggressive campaign conducted by pro-Gülenist media organizations before a Sept. 12, 2010, constitutional referendum that overhauled the top judicial bodies.
“The extreme and aggressive propaganda [before the referendum] of some broadcast organs known to be affiliated with this structure came at the forefront of things that disturbed me first and I drew attention to this abnormality,” he said.

‘I advised MIT chief not to go to court’ 

Gül also highlighted his role in preventing the potential detention of National Intelligence Organization (MİT) chief Hakan Fidan by Gülenist prosecutors in early 2012.  

“On Feb. 7, 2012, the undersecretary [of MİT] came to me with an urgent note and briefed me about the situation. That day, I was the only one who stood with him. I absolutely insisted that he should not go to the prosecutor’s office and I instructed him accordingly,” he said.

‘Indiscriminative measures harming the country’

Gül also conveyed his suggestions about post-coup attempt measures, stating that the investigations should be conducted carefully.

“The confiscation of companies and properties belonging to the foundations, associations and collective owners of the organization is rightful. However, indiscriminate judicial investigations may lead to even greater legal and economic problems for our country in the future,” he said.

Çiller: ‘FETÖ infiltration in 1990s was within normal measures’

Tansu Çiller, who served as a prime minister between 1993 and 1996, told the same commission that the group’s infiltration into state institutions during the 1990s was “within normal limits.”

“It is possible that the members of FETÖ infiltrated state institutions in the 1990s as an exception. However, those infiltrations were within appropriate limits taking the country’s reality into consideration, and it was not at extraordinary rates,” Çiller said.  

“Especially in the 1990s, the infiltration of the sympathizers of FETÖ members into the army academies, where army officers were trained, was so small that it could not be compared with the later periods,” she said.