Islamic scholar Gülen responds to Turkish PM’s ‘lair’ remark in heated row over graft probe
Fethullah Gülen on Dec 21 mounted an unprecedented attack on the government, accusing it of ignoring the corruption allegations but going after police investigating the charges. DHA photoIslamist scholar Fethullah Gülen has countered the Turkish prime minister’s remarks vowing to clamp down on “the ones in lairs,” escalating the heat of the war of words between parties amid the ongoing corruption probe.
“God sees who is in a lair,” he said in his latest speech aired on Dec. 22 by herkul.org, a website close to him.
“Seeing the narrowness of some people, who want to spend their lives in that narrowness in order not to beg from people or not to be unfair to others, as a lair means not knowing what a lair is,” the scholar, who lives in self-imposed exile in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania, said.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had said the crackdown on people behind the corruption investigation would continue and the government would pull apart the “lairs” of these people.
“Those who want to establish a parallel structure alongside the state, those who have infiltrated into the state institutions ... we will come into your lairs and we will lay out these organizations within the state,” he said on Dec. 21 in a speech in the northern city of Ordu.
The high-level graft probe has shaken the political establishment, exposing a bitter feud between the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government and Gülen, whose followers hold key positions in the police, judiciary and secret services.
Twenty-four people have been formally arrested under the corruption investigation that hit Turkey, including the sons of two government ministers and the general manager of state-owned Halkbank while scores have been detained.
In response, about 70 police officers, including the powerful head of Istanbul’s force, have now been sacked or moved to different posts since the detention of bribery suspects began last week.
Through a statement release by his lawyer right after the launch of operation on Dec. 17, Gülen had denied having any connection with the probe, but throughout the past week, he and the prime minister incautiously sparred over the process.
Gülen on Dec. 21 had mounted an unprecedented attack on the government, accusing it of ignoring the corruption allegations but going after police investigating the charges.
“Those who don’t see the thief but go after those who chase the thief ... May Allah bring fire to their homes,” Gülen said, cursing in a video message to his followers that was shown on Turkish television stations.
Speaking ahead of his departure to Pakistan on Dec. 22, Erdoğan touched on Gülen’s cursing.
“We pray for Muslims to reach the right way not for their damnation. Cursing is such a trick among Muslims it will return to one who did this like a boomerang,” he said.