Former sports minister Suat Kılıç denies Gülen-linked threat claims
ISTANBULFormer Youth and Sports Minister Suat Kılıç has denied daily Yeni Şafak’s claims that accused him of being the Gülen-linked individual who threatened an education ministry official not to accept the promotion that brought to him to his current post.
Kılıç stated via his Twitter account that the reports claiming that he threatened Education Ministry Undersecretary Yusuf Tekin before taking up the post were “completely false.”
“This slander is the latest version of hostility that reached to hate [point] at Yeni Şafak. In light of the ‘news’ that aimed to lynch my character, our legal battle has begun,” said Kılıç.
In a panel discussion in Trabzon on Dec. 20 Tekin announced that a minister had threatened him not to accept a possible promotion that brought him to his current post in 2013, saying that if he accepted the promotion he would be “humiliated” by Gülenists, who are believed to be behind the July 15 coup attempt in Turkey.
Tekin said he was delivered a “greeting from Fethullah Gülen,” and was told that if he accepted a possible promotion by then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Gülen’s followers would make him face such humiliation “that he would not be able to go out in public.”
Tekin said he faced a “denigration campaign” after January 2013, Yeni Şafak had also claimed.
Kılıç was dropped from the cabinet on Dec. 26, 2013, in the immediate aftermath of the Dec. 17 and 25 corruption probes, which embroiled four cabinet ministers - Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan, Interior Minister Muammer Güler, EU Minister Egemen Bağış and Urban Minister Erdoğan Bayraktar – along with several businessmen.
The probe was later dropped both in court and parliament, and its prosecutors now have arrest warrants issued against them over suspicions that they are members of the network of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen.