Turkish President Erdoğan ‘closely following’ judicial process against Fethullah Gülen movement
President Erdoğan speaks at a meeting of the Board of Foreign Economic Relations (DEİK). AA photoTurkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said he is closely following the operation launched on Dec. 14 targeting some members of the Fethullah Gülen movement, including two top executives of media groups close to the U.S.-based Islamic scholar, while he has also slammed international organizations for voicing concerns over media freedom in Turkey.
“Everything is being done according to the laws, nobody is being lynched before the process is over, a clean process is ongoing now,” Erdoğan said speaking at a meeting of the Board of Foreign Economic Relations (DEİK) on Dec. 20.
An Istanbul court ordered on Dec. 19 the arrest of four of the 12 suspects, including Samanyolu Media Group head Hidayet Karaca; Tufan Ergüder, the former head of the Istanbul Police Department’s anti-terror branch, who were detained in a Dec. 14 police operation on media groups linked to Gülen.
Eight suspects, including Zaman Editor-in-Chief Ekrem Dumanlı, have been released. The court, however, imposed a travel ban on Dumanlı.
Also, an arrest warrant was issued for Fethullah Gülen, who is on a self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania, on charges of leading a terrorist organization.
Karaca was arrested on charges of founding a terrorist organization while the other three are charged with being a member of the organization, reports said.
Erdoğan slammed local and international critics who voiced their concerns after two journalists were detained when their headquarters were raided by the police.
“They launched a campaign arguing that the media is silenced after this process started,” said Erdoğan.
“The EU issued a statement during a holiday. How sensitive they are to what happens in this country. From where those who have been keeping us waiting at the doorstep have got such a sensitivity? When we complain about the PKK in the EU, they say this is a country of law. Isn’t Turkey one?” said the president.
Erdoğan said the EU countries “maybe are not be liking” the developments.
“Maybe those who you have put your hopes on are showing their true colors. You will respects Turkey’s justice and its decision,” he said.
The president also lashed out at media freedom criticisms, slamming a recent report by Reporters without Borders.
“What if those detained are journalist, don’t the journalists commit crimes?” asked Erdoğan. Why did not you say ‘the media is being silenced’ when 50 journalists were interrogated in England? Israel massacred 16 journalists this year, why did the EU keep silent? Reporters without Borders has issued a report, put Turkey on the seat of honor. I wondered and looked into it, nowhere in the report is Israel mentioned, but to be honest, Palestine has been included.”
President Erdoğan claimed that journalism is being used as a “disguise.”
“They say Turkey’s reputation is damaged, nothing will happen,” he added. “Turkey has not found its reputation on the international headlines. We are not country to set its course with such fake reports, politically motivated reports, and statements in support of the parallel state.”
Erdoğan called on the western countries to support the Syrians in Turkey “instead of lecturing us.”
“All they say is thank you, ok, but when it comes to money… [Money] is their god.”
The president also said the situation in Aleppo is posing a threat to Turkey, arguing that the West does nothing to resolve the problem.