Weekly magazine Knack published an interview today with the EU Vice-President and Commissioner Frans Timmermans about the alleged involvement of the Gülen movement in the coup attempt of July 15th in Turkey.
Mr. Timmermans suggests that more empathy needs to be shown towards the Turkish government, which was targeted by a coup attempt on July 15. The commissioner also suggests that it is not entirely false that the Gülen movement is behind the coup.
Mr. Timmermans makes his statements not based on facts, but on supposition. “Based on American research there are growing indications that the Gülen movement certainly played a role in the failed coup this summer in Turkey,” said the commissioner.
However, the article does not explain what evidence and which American research. It is remarkable that this statement of Timmermans comes after Erdoğan’s threat to end the refugee deal with Europe.
Thus far, although demanding Gülen’s extradition from the United States, there is no indication that the Turkish government can provide any substantive evidence at all that Gülen was involved in the coup. In addition, since the coup, the government has dismissed and arrested thousands of police officers, judges, prosecutors and lawyers who are not compliant with the wishes of the ruling party. Currently, in Turkey there is no hope of a fair trial for anyone. In this environment, Erdoğan also intends to reintroduce the death penalty. Furthermore, there are reports of torture, sexual assaults, denial of medical care, and deaths in custody.
Immediately after the failed coup attempt Fethullah Gülen condemned the coup and denied any involvement, and he has asked for an international commission to investigate who was really behind the coup. He said that if 10% of the allegations could be proven, he would return on his own initiative to Turkey. To date his offer stands since no one has started such an inquiry.
About possible participation in the coup by individuals from the Hizmet Movement, Gülen has said that if any of his supporters were involved with the coup plotters, they would have betrayed his teachings and he will not forgive them for it. Finally, Gülen noted that an accusation is not a trial in itself, and it is wrong to blame a movement for a coup attempt before the investigatory process is completed.
About Dialogue Platform
Dialogue Platform is a non-profit organization located in Brussels. The association acts as a mouthpiece for the European dialogue institutions associated with the Hizmet/Gülen movement. The platform also serves as the main information channel of Hizmet and Fethullah Gülen, who is the honorary president of the association. Visit www.dialogueplatform.eu for more information.
This report has been written in response to recent events in Turkey — the attempted coup of July 15, 2016 and the extraordinary purges that are continuing in its aftermath. With the current government crackdown on the media in Turkey, it is difficult to extract an objective account of events on the night of the failed coup and establish responsibility for them. For that reason, here we examine the Turkish government’s official account of events and some of the difficulties with it. We also present a number of alternative conclusions about events from academics and experts from across the political spectrum. We document the alarming rise in wholesale human rights abuses for which the failed coup appears to be a pretext. We then show how the Turkish government or its supporters are also instigating similar abuses within the borders of Europe.
In the hope that the reader will be able to form an educated and objective opinion about the current state of affairs in Turkey and its effects beyond Turkey’s borders, we have provided plentiful references to supporting evidence in the form of newspaper articles and reports from official bodies or human rights organisations. At the time of going to press all the links given in the footnotes were available. However, given the Turkish government’s determined attack on freedom of expression, it is possible that those links which are based on servers in Turkey will not remain available for very long.
The report was initiated by the Alliance for Shared Values in the United States and the Dialogue Platform in Brussels. Scholars from the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Belgium, and Holland have contributed to the text.
8th November 2016, Brussels
Last week, the Turkish police raided the headquarters of Cumhuriyet newspaper, and editor-in-chief Murat Sabuncu along with eight other journalists have later formally arrested.
Furthermore, nine members of Turkish Parliament from Turkey’s second largest opposition party, People’s Democratic Party (HDP), including the party’s co-chairs Mr. Selahattin Demirtas and Ms. Figen Yuksekdag have been arrested over the weekend.
Dialogue Platform condemns the crackdown on Cumhuriyet newspaper and HDP which are just the latest example of the president Erdogan and Turkish government’s efforts to suppress freedoms and consolidate their authoritarian power.
As a Hizmet organisation, we believe that restricting the freedom of expression and freedom of elected representatives of the people through arrests and other means only helps imbedding authoritarian practices. As a candidate country, Turkey must comply with the principals of the EU, restore the rule of law, freedom of expression and press and reinvigorate its democratic spirit and institutions.
Dialogue Platform is a Brussels-based non-profit association which serves as a platform for Hizmet-affiliated dialogue institutions in Europe. Mr. Fethullah Gülen, the Turkish-Muslim scholar whose teachings and works inspired the Hizmet Movement, holds the honorary presidency of the platform. For more information, please visit www.dialogueplatform.eu.