Islamic scholar Gülen rejects links with Turkey's corruption probe
Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen has denied having any connection with the ongoing investigation into the alleged bribery of a number of high-ranking officials, including ministers. CİHAN photoIslamic scholar Fethullah Gülen has denied having any connection with the ongoing investigation into the alleged bribery of a number of high-ranking officials, including ministers.
“We want to assert that claims such as ‘declaring war against the government, launching an operation, playing dirty games, and setting up traps,’ are completely ill-intentioned and fantastical attributions,” Gülen’s lawyer Orhan Erdemli said in a written statement reflecting his client’s statements.
“The illegal reports trying to create a negative perception about my client are worrisome,” the statement added.
Erdemli claimed that allegations against Gülen, the leader of the “Hizmet” (Service) movement, who has lived in the United States since 1999, are aimed at distracting the public’s attention and interfering with the judicial process.
“Some businessmen, bureaucrats and relatives of politicians have been detained by the Istanbul chief public prosecutor over the past two days. Claims of corruption, bribery and smuggling can be observed in any country. That is why there are independent judicial bodies to investigate and judge such claims,” Erdemli’s statement also said.
Turkey’s largest ever corruption probe launched on Dec. 17 into a number of high-profile names, including three Cabinet members’ sons, and is interpreted as being part of ongoing tension between the Gülen movement and the Justice and Development Party (AKP).
The rift became particularly visible to the public after the government announced plans to shut down private education centers, known as “dershanes,” many of which are owned by Gülen supporters.
The tension publicly escalated after daily Taraf revealed on Nov. 28 that the government had signed a National Security Council (MGK) decision recommending an action plan against the Gülen movement in 2004.
Taraf also claimed that the Turkish government had profiled a number of pro-Gülen groups based on religion and faith through the National Intelligence Organization (MİT), monitoring their activities until as recently as 2013.