The Gülen row lingers in Brussels, as MEP Duff turns his criticism to Turkish PM Erdoğan
Emre KIZILKAYA ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News
Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and Andrew Duff at the 74th EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee meeting in Brussels. DHA PhotoThe row that marred the first day of the 74th EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee meeting in Brussels continued April 11.
The tension continued when Andrew Duff, a liberal democrat member of the European Parliament (MEP), said he was not convinced by the response of Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Turkey’s EU minister. Duff told Hürriyet Daily News that Çavuşoğlu “faithfully reflects the attitude of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan” by calling him a part of the Gülenist “parallel structure” within the Turkish state.
Earlier, Duff had claimed Çavuşoğlu accused him of being bought by the U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen. In response, Çavuşoğlu said “I never said you were bought by anyone, Andrew. I recommended you to obtain the original version [Turkish] of the interview and ask a reliable friend for the translation.”
Duff answered HDN’s questions by e-mail on April 11, following Çavuşoğlu’s latest statement:
Are you convinced by EU Minister Çavuşoğlu’s reassurance?
Not really. We are checking the translation of the transcript of the interview carefully. He could have apologized, but chose not to. He repeated his claim that I only speak for myself and represent nobody else in questioning the continuation of the “accession process.” I leave it to you to judge whether he is right. The accusation that an MEP has been “made to say” things is a serious one.
Was it a miscommunication sourced in the people who relayed Çavuşoğlu’s alleged remarks to you? Do you see any foul play here?
No. I think Mr. Minister faithfully reflects the attitude of his prime minister in casting a slur on me and on the European Parliament as having become an instrument of the “parallel structure” of the Gülen movement.
And isn’t it funny, rather than shocking, that you were accused of being a Gülenist?
Yes, I am the first Christian Gülenist. But I am still waiting to see my fee paid from Pennsylvania into my bank account. I find it odd that the AKP ministers are obsessed with beating up Hizmet when in Turkey, but scarcely dare to mention Gülen at all when they come to Brussels. They must know they seem to us to be incredible in the allegations they make about the power and reach of the Gülen movement.
Everyone knows of the primitive political tactic of creating a false enemy when things at home are going not so well.