Self-exiled Islamic scholar Gülen rejects Khomeini analogy for potential return to Turkey
'I am not Iranian, how can I be like Khomeini? Nor have I ever had the pretensions that Khomeini had,' US-exiled Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen saidIslamic scholar Fethullah Gülen has rejected suggestions that he will return to Turkey in a similar manner as Ayatollah Khomeini in Iran ahead of the Islamic revolution in 1979.
“I am not Iranian, how can I be like Khomeini? Nor have I ever had the pretensions that Khomeini had. I’m the child of my own country. If one day I return to Turkey, I will be the same as I’ve always been,” the U.S.-based Gülen said in a video-recorded message on March 5.
The comparison had been made by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who was quoted in daily Yeni Şafak on March 5. “Gülen was making calculations to return just like Khomeini. He is considered the ‘Imam of the universe’ in the [Gülen’s movement] diagram,” Erdoğan was quoted as saying during a question-answer session after a meeting in the southern province of Osmaniye on March 3.
Without directly mentioning Erdoğan, Gülen said those who compare him to Khomeini “would end up ashamed.”
“I have never returned to Turkey with fanfare and brouhaha. I never expected a future. I never had anything to do with Khomeini due to my character, my confession or my nationality,” he added.
‘Not an imported leech’
In the same message, Gülen said that although he has been living outside Turkey for years he had never given his allegiance to another country.
“I am not a leech imported from abroad, pestering the Turkish people. I would never change a handful of the land of my country, even if they gave me the world in exchange,” he said.
Prime Minister Erdoğan has repeatedly accused Gülen of orchestrating the graft probes against the government and of wiretapping thousands of people, including his family and close advisers. He has also accused Gülen of being a tool of foreign powers.
“As I said, if God is willing, when I return, they will hear about it. Perhaps they will ask themselves, ‘Has he returned or not? If he has, where is he staying? How come we didn’t see him?’” Gülen said.
“When they do not know someone by his character, they can speak without knowing. This is a suspicion thrown inside them by the devil,” he added.