Gülen’s lawyers want US suit backed by Turkey tossed
AP photoAttorneys for U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen asked a U.S. federal judge late Feb. 3 to dismiss a Turkish government-backed lawsuit which claims he orchestrated human rights abuses in his native Turkey, the Associated Press has reported.
Gülen has long been accused by leading Justice and Development Party (AKP) lawmakers, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his inner circle of forming and heading a terrorist organization to topple the Turkish government through insiders at the police and other state institutions.
The civil suit contends Gülen ordered sympathetic police, prosecutors and judges in Turkey to target members of a rival spiritual movement critical of his teachings.
Gülen’s lawyers called the lawsuit’s claims baseless accusations, denouncing it as “pure political theater” by the Turkish government.
“This lawsuit is pure political theater and a misuse of American judicial resources. It is the brainchild of the Turkish government and part of a broad campaign to silence Mr. Gülen, one of the strongest voices for peace and moderation in the Muslim world,” the attorneys said in a filing on Feb. 3.
The suit was filed in December 2015 on behalf of three men who claimed Gülen sympathizers in Turkish law enforcement had planted evidence, fabricated search warrants, conducted illegal wiretaps and ultimately arrested and detained the men on trumped-up charges. It was filed on Dec. 7, 2015, by lawyer Robert Amsterdam, six weeks after the Turkish government hired him to conduct a “global investigation” of Gülen.
The move came hours after an Istanbul court ordered the release of 10 suspects in a case into the alleged wiretapping of hundreds of lawmakers and civil servants and the creation of a fake terrorist group publicly known as “Selam Tevhid,” with the main suspect of the case stated as Gülen. Erdoğan, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and Hakan Fidan, the head of Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT), were among hundreds of people wiretapped according to the indictment.