İlker Başbuğ slams court for inquiry on Jerusalem photo

İlker Başbuğ slams court for inquiry on Jerusalem photo

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet
İlker Başbuğ slams court for inquiry on Jerusalem photo

Retired general İlker Başbuğ is currently under arrest pendinmg trial. AFP photo

Former Chief of Staff İlker Başbuğ has lashed out at the court overseeing the Internet Memorandum case, for inquiring about a photograph showing him in front of the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, calling the question a “crime against humanity.”

“As far as I am concerned, questioning people’s faith and ethnic roots constitutes a crime against humanity before anything else,” the former general was quoted as saying by a website founded on his behalf, adding that he did not understand what relation this question bore to the charges leveled against him in the trial.

Turkey’s former top general said he took pride in his Turkish and Muslim identity, and that he had also paid a visit to the al-Aqsa Mosque during the same trip to Jerusalem.

“That I take pride in my Turkish and Muslim [identity], however, does not bestow upon me the right to belittle or question other people of different ethnic roots or religious faiths, regardless of whether they are this citizens of this country or not. Everyone ought to be able to vaunt and take pride in being a member of the Turkish nation and their own ethnic roots and religious faith,” he said.

The first question directed to the former general by the investigating court reportedly concerned a photo of him standing in front of the Wailing Wall, which appeared in the right-wing daily Vakit in 2008 under the title “A Civil Servant at the Wailing Wall.”

“Judaism is one of the [Abrahamic] religions, and the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem is a sacred place. Do the benighted [individuals] who propound that everyone who visits this sacred place could be Jewish also think that everyone who visits the Sultanahmet Mosque in Istanbul and pray there are Muslims, too?” Başbuğ asked on the website.

Başbuğ said one of the reasons that Islam was the final and most perfect religion was because it viewed religion solely as a matter between God and the individual.

“For that reason, where do those who dare to intervene between God and his [creatures] derive this authority from?” he said.