Turkey's former president contradicts PM on Gülen meeting
Former President Abdullah GülFormer President Abdullah Gül has contradicted Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, stressing that he was not informed before the latter figure visited the U.S.-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen in 2013.
"There is an error in the part about me [in Davutoğlu's statement]. I had heard about it subsequently," Gül said during a press conference at Istanbul's Atatürk Airport late May 1, referring to Davutoğlu's 2013 visit to Gülen, the government's erstwhile ally.
Davutoğlu was quoted by daily Milliyet on April 30 as saying that he had visited Gülen in October 2013 "within the knowledge of" then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and then-President Gül.
As Turkey's then-Foreign Minister, Davutoğlu had reportedly asked Gülen to return to Turkey. Gülen, who resides in Pennsylvania, refused the offer, according to the report, stressing that it was "not the right time."
"Today I understand that he was waiting for the December coup. He was planning to return to Turkey like Ayatollah Khomeini returned to Iran," Davutoğlu was quoted as saying, referring to the massive corruption investigations launched on Dec. 17, 2013.
The investigations had triggered the ongoing political war between the government and Gülenists, two former allies.