Turkish PM's visit to Gülen 'was approved' by Erdoğan
AA PhotoPresident Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has joined the debate on whether Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu visited U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen with the permission of former President Abdullah Gül, stating that he personally gave Davutoğlu the go-ahead.
On a flight returning from Europe where he held a number of public rallies, Erdoğan told journalists that he allowed Davutoğlu to visit Gülen in 2013.
“I knew about Mr. Davutoğlu’s visit to Pennsylvania. He had my permission to go there,” he was quoted as saying.
“I do not know whether he notified our president [Gül]. In any case, I was the relevant authority at that instant as both the chairman of the Justice and Development Party [AKP] and prime minister,” Erdoğan added.
His remarks were in response to a recent public disagreement between Davutoğlu and Gül about Davutoğlu’s 2013 meeting with Gülen as part of his visit to the United States, where he also attended a United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York.
Davutoğlu has claimed he met with Gülen three months before the massive corruption and graft operation launched on Dec. 17, 2013, in order to urge him “to stay within legitimate boundaries and return to Turkey.”
He has also said Gül was notified of the visit.
“In a place where the president is present and as the foreign minister, I would not go anywhere … without getting permission from him or without informing him. This is a principle that I have embraced as part of state morality,” Davutoğlu was quoted as saying May 3 during a visit to Germany.
Gül has denied Davutoğlu’s allegations, stating he would have remembered giving permission because he disapproved of the meeting at the time.
“My mind is clear. As I was not informed about the visit beforehand, it is not possible for me to forget it, as I shared my discomfort over the issue after I learnt about it,” veteran journalist Fehmi Koru cited Gül as saying, in his column published in daily Habertürk on May 5.