Category Archives: Press Releases

Gulen on Le Monde: “Islam is Compatible with Democracy, Despite Turkey’s Recent Example”

Turkey was hailed as an example for a modern Muslim democracy during the early 2000s. The current ruling party that came to power in 2002 implemented reforms that were aligned with the European Union’s democratic standards and the country’s record in human rights began to improve.

Unfortunately, the democratic reforms were short lived. The process stalled only a few years later and then around 2011, following his third election victory, then-prime minister now president Erdogan made a complete U-turn. The slide into authoritarianism have made Turkey no longer an example for other Muslim-majority countries to aspire to.

Some may view the negative example Turkey presents under Erdogan as evidence of an incompatibility between democratic and Islamic values. But that would be an erroneous conclusion.

Despite the outward appearance of Islamic observance, Erdogan regime represents a complete betrayal of core Islamic values. These core values are not about a style of dressing or the use of religious slogans. They include respect for the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary, accountability for the rulers and the preservation of inalienable rights and freedoms of every citizen. The recent setback in the Turkish democratic experience is not because of adherence to these Islamic values, but rather because of their betrayal.

Turkish society remains remarkably heterogeneous. Sunni or Alevi, Turk, Kurd or other in ethnicity, Muslim or non-Muslim, and religiously observant or secular in lifestyle Turkish citizens adhere to many different ideologies, philosophies, and beliefs. In such a society, the effort to make everyone the same is both futile and disrespectful to humanity. Participatory or democratic form of governance where no group, majority or minority, dominates the others is the only viable form of governance for such a diverse population. The same can be said of Syria, Iraq and other neighboring countries in the region.

In Turkey or elsewhere, authoritarian rulers have exploited the differences within the society to polarize various groups against each other and maintain their stronghold in power. Whatever beliefs or worldviews they have, citizens should come together around universal human rights and freedoms and be able to democratically oppose those who violate these rights.

Expressing yourself against oppression is a democratic right, a civic duty, and a religious duty for believers. The Quran states that people should not remain silent against injustice: “O you who have believe! Be persistently standing firm in justice, witnesses for God, even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives.” (4:135)

Living according to your beliefs or worldview with the condition that it does no harm to others, and exercising fundamental human freedoms, especially freedom of speech, makes a person truly a human. Liberty is a right given by the Compassionate God, and no one—and no leader—can take that away. A person deprived of his or her basic rights and freedoms cannot be said to live a truly human life.

In contrast to claims by political Islamists, Islam is not a political ideology, it is a religion. It does have some principles that pertain to governance, but these account for, at most, five percent of all Islamic principles. To reduce Islam to a political ideology is the greatest crime against its ethos.

In the past those who studied or spoke about the Islamic perspective of politics and state made three errors: First, they confused the historical experiences of Muslims with the foundational sources of Islamic tradition, the Qur’an and the authentic sayings and practices of the Prophet (upon whom be peace and blessings of God). Historical experiences of Muslims and the verdicts of the jurists under these circumstances should be analyzed with a critical eye, and cannot be given the same status as the authentic sources of religion. Secondly, some cherry-picked verses of the Qur’an or the sayings of the Prophet (pbuh) to legitimize their perspective and pursued to impose that perspective upon people. The spirit of the Qur’an and the Prophetic tradition (Sunnah) can only be understood with a holistic view and with a sincere intention to seek out the will of God. Third, some concluded, wrongfully, that democracy is fundamentally against Islam because Islam declares God as the only sovereign whereas democracy is based upon the sovereignty of the people. No believer doubts that God is the sovereign of the universe, but this does not mean that human agency, including thought, inclinations and willpower do not exist or are excluded from God’s greater plan for humanity. Giving sovereignty to the people does not mean usurping it from God, but rather taking the right and duty to govern, which is endowed to humans by God, from a dictator or an oligarchy and giving it back to the people.

The “state” is a system formed by human beings in order to protect their basic rights and freedoms and maintain justice and peace. The “state” is not a goal by itself, but an agency that helps people pursue happiness in this world and in the afterworld. The alignment of the state with a set of principles and values is a sum of the alignment of the individuals who make up the system with those principles and values. Therefore, the phrase “Islamic state” is a contradiction in terms, an oxymoron. Similarly, since there is no clergy class in Islam, theocracy is alien to the spirit of Islam. A state is a result of a contract among humans, made up of humans, and it can neither be “Islamic” nor “holy”.

Democracies come in all shapes and sizes. The democratic ideal that underlies these forms, that no group has domination over the others, is also an Islamic ideal. The principle of equal citizenship is in alignment with acknowledging the dignity of every human being and respecting them as a work of art that was created by God. Participatory form of governance, whether it is called a democracy or republic, is much more in resonance with the Islamic spirit than other forms of government, including monarchies and oligarchies.

The present picture of Turkey’s leadership resembles an oligarchy rather than democracy. How did it go wrong?

President Erdogan has corrupted Turkey’s once-promising democracy, co-opting the state, seizing businesses and rewarding cronies. In order to consolidate enough of the public behind him to make his power grab, he has declared me and Hizmet movement participants the enemy of the state, blaming us for every negative incident in the country in the recent past. This is a textbook example of scapegoating.

The government under President Erdogan has pursued me and also hundreds of thousands of other people—critics of all stripes, but especially from the peaceful Hizmet movement. Environmental protesters, Journalists, Academics, Kurds, Alevis, non-Muslims, and some of the Sunni Muslim groups who have been critical of Erdogan’s actions have had their share of consequences of his political agenda. Lives have been ruined through sacking, confiscating, jailing, and torture.

Due to the ongoing persecution, thousands of Hizmet volunteers have sought asylum in around the Globe, including France. As new residents, they must abide by the laws of these countries, help find solutions to problems of those societies and lead an active struggle against the spread of radical interpretations of Islam in Europe.

Back in Turkey, a vast arrest campaign based on guilt by association is ongoing. The number of victims of this campaign of persecution keeps increasing, with over 150,000 losing jobs, over 200,000 detained and over 80,000 arrested and jailed. People who are targeted by politically-motivated prosecution and who want to leave are deprived of their fundamental right to leave the country as their passports are cancelled. Despite setbacks due to military coups, Turkish Republic has been on a path of continuous improvement in democracy since its beginning in 1923. Erdogan is draining the reputation that the Turkish Republic has gained in the international arena, pushing Turkey into the league of nations known for suffocating freedoms and jailing democratic dissenters. The ruling clique is exploiting diplomatic relations, mobilizing government personnel and resources to harass, haunt and abduct Hizmet movement volunteers all around the world.

In recent years, and in the face of such persecutions, Turkish citizens have remained relatively passive in conveying their democratic demands to their leaders. Concern for economic stability is one possible reason for this behavior. But if we backtrack from today, we can see that there is also a historic reason.

Despite the fact that democratic governance has been an ideal of Turkish Republic, democratic values have never been systematically ingrained into the Turkish society. Obedience to a strong leader and the state have always been a strong theme in educational curricula. The military coups, which happened almost every decade, did not give democracy a chance to take hold and progress. Citizens forgot that the state existed for the people and not vice versa. It can be argued that Erdogan took advantage of this collective psyche.

Turkish democracy may be in a coma due to the current leadership but I remain optimistic. Oppression does not last for too long. I believe that Turkey will one day return to the democratic path. However, for democracy to take root and be long lasting, several measures need to be taken.

First of all, the school curricula should be reevaluated. Topics such as equal rights for all citizens and fundamental human rights and freedoms should be taught to students in the first years of school so that they can be guardians of these rights when they grow up. Secondly, there is a need for a constitution that does not allow for either the minority or the majority’s domination and protects in every situation the fundamental human rights referred to in the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Civil society and free press should be protected by the constitution to flourish and be part of the checks and balances against the state power. Thirdly, opinion leaders should emphasize democratic values in their rhetoric and action.

Turkey has now reached a point where democracy and human rights are put aside. It appears to have lost a historic opportunity to achieve a democracy by the standards of the European Union with  a majority Muslim population.

The leaders of a country are like the cream on top of a liquid. The cream is made of the same ingredients as the liquid underneath it. Leaders of a society, possibly with some level of inaccuracy or delay, reflect the beliefs and values of a society. I hope and pray that the recent sad experience of the Muslim majority countries lead to an awakening in the collective consciousness to produce democratically minded leaders and governments that uphold not only free an fair elections, but all fundamental human rights and freedoms.

Fethullah Gulen

15.11.2016 Without proof the Commissioner Timmermans points to Gülen movement as coup plotter

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.

Statement on Arrest of Cumhuriyet Journalists  and HDP Parliamentarians in Turkey

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.

Dialogue Platform’s Statements on Developments in Turkey

Press Release

Brussels , 15 July 2016

Dialogue Platform’s Statement on Developments in Turkey

Our Honorary President Fethullah Gulen has consistently advocated for democracy and insisted “there is no return from the democracy” at every stage of his life.

Hizmet participants have always denounced the military interventions and demonstrated the attitude for the peaceful coexistence, freedom and democracy. Thus, Dialogue Platform strongly condemns any attempt to throw an elected government by military coup.

We have always supported development of Turkey’s democracy and its membership to European Union despite of the increasing anti-democratic practices in recent years.

President Erdogan and his close circles’ blame on the Hizmet Movement is very irresponsible and concerning.

We hope that Turkey will overcome these difficult days and take this sad incident as an opportunity to strengthen its democracy.


Press Release

Brussels , 17 July 2016

Dialogue Platform’s Response to Aftermath of Coup Attempt in Turkey

Our honorary president Mr. Fethullah Gülen who has been accused of engineering the failed coup attempt has called for an impartial, independent international investigation on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s allegations that his followers have been involved in the failed coup. He declared he is ready for any independent investigation if he or his followers have any link with the coup attempt in Turkey. You can watch the full statement at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acYkhO5RKAw.

Mr. Gulen condemned the coup attempt just after a few hours and said in a personal statement “as someone who suffered under multiple military coups during the past five decades, it is especially insulting to be accused of having any link to such an attempt. I categorically deny such accusations.”

Furthermore, Hizmet affiliated individuals and institutions in several European countries are facing threats, hatred messages and attacks for the last two days. Dialogue Platform is deeply concerned that irresponsible messages and baseless accusations against the Hizmet Movement will cause more polarisation and hatred in Europe which may lead to further unrest.


Communiqué de presse

Bruxelles, 15 Juillet 2016

Déclaration de la Plateforme de Dialogue sur les évènements en Turquie

Notre Président honoraire Fethullah Gulen a constamment défendu les valeurs de la démocratie et a insisté à chaque étape de sa vie sur le fait qu’il “ne peut y avoir de retour en arrière de la démocratie”. Les participants du mouvement Hizmet ont toujours dénoncé les interventions militaires et agi pour la coexistence pacifique, la liberté et la démocratie.

Par conséquent, la Plateforme de Dialogue condamne fermement toute tentative de renverser un gouvernement élu par le biais d’un coup d’État. Nous avons toujours soutenu le développement de la démocratie en Turquie et son adhésion à l’Union Européenne, malgré l’augmentation des pratiques non-démocratiques ces dernières années. Les accusations du Président Erdogan et de ses cercles proches à l’égard du Mouvement Hizmet sont très irresponsables et inquiétantes.

Nous espérons que la Turquie surmontera ces jours difficiles et que ces évènements tragiques puissent devenir une opportunité pour renforcer la démocratie.

A propos de la Plateforme de Dialogue

La Plateforme de Dialogue est une association sans but lucratif basée à Bruxelles qui sert de porte-parole pour les institutions de Dialogue affiliées au mouvement Hizmet (aussi connu sous le nom de mouvement Gülen) en Europe. La Plateforme de Dialogue sert également de source d’information concernant le mouvement Hizmet et Fethullah Gülen qui est le président honoraire de la plateforme. Pour de plus amples informations, veuillez consulter www.dialoguepatlform.eu

A propos de Fethullah Gülen

Fethullah Gülen est un intellectuel musulman, prédicateur et acteur de la défense des intérêts sociaux dont la dévotion depuis des dizaines d’années au dialogue interculturel, à la tolérance et l’altruisme ont inspiré des millions de personnes en Turquie et à travers le monde. Il est le président honoraire de la Plateforme de Dialogue Interculturel (Bruxelles), du Rumi Forum (Washington DC) et de la Fondation des Journalistes et Ecrivains (Istanbul).


Persbericht

Brussel, 15 juli 2016

Verklaring van het Dialoog Platform inzake de ontwikkelingen in Turkije

Onze erevoorzitter Fethullah Gülen heeft altijd gepleit voor democratie en hield aan dat “er geen terugweg is van democratie” gedurende zijn hele leven.

Volgers van de Hizmetbeweging hebben steeds militaire interventies afgekeurd en hebben een houding aangenomen die blijk geeft van zin voor samenleven in vrede, vrijheid en democratie. Ook nu veroordeelt het Dialoog Platform de poging tot een staatsgreep door het leger.

We hebben steeds de ontwikkeling van de democratie in Turkije en haar lidmaatschap aan de Europese Unie gesteund, ondanks het stijgen van ondemocratische praktijken in de laatste jaren.

De beschuldigingen jegens de Hizmetbeweging door president Erdogan en zijn naaste kringen zijn onverantwoordelijk en zorgwekkend.

We hopen dat Turkije deze moeilijke dagen te boven zal komen en dat deze droevige gebeurtenis een gelegenheid zal zijn voor het versterken van de democratie.

Over het Dialoog Platform

Het Dialoog Platform is een vereniging zonder winstoogmerk, gelegen in Brussel, die de Europese dialooginstellingen gelinkt aan de Hizmetbeweging (ook Gülenbeweging) vertegenwoordigt. Het Platform fungeert ook als een centrale informatiekanaal van de beweging en van Fethullah Gülen, die de erevoorzitter is. Meer informatie vindt u terug opwww.dialogueplatform.eu

Over Fethullah Gülen

Fethullah Gülen is een moslimintellectueel en sociale pleitbezorger, wiens decennialange inzet op gebied van interreligieuze verdraagzaamheid en altruïsme miljoenen heeft geïnspireerd in Turkije en de hele wereld. Gülen is de erevoorzitter van het Interculturele Dialoog Platform in Brussel, het Rumi Forum in Washington DC en de Stichting voor Journalisten en Schrijvers in Istanboel.

MESSAGE DE FETHULLAH GÜLEN

MESSAGE DE CONDAMNATION ET DE CONDOLEANCES  CONCERNANT LES ATTAQUES TERRORISTES DE BRUXELLES

Je condamne fermement les attaques terroristes brutales ayant eu lieu ce mardi 22 mars à l’aéroport de Zaventem et à la station de métro Maelbeek, et qui ont causé la mort de plus de 30 innocents et la blessure de centaines d’autres.

 Chaque attaque terroriste, quel qu’en soit l’auteur et le but, est un crime. Elle reflète une violation de la sainteté de la vie humaine et ne mérite rien d’autre que d’être condamnée. Aucune religion et aucun être humain muni de conscience ne peut tolérer de tels actes de cruauté.

Les auteurs de ces attaques ignobles et ceux qui les soutiennent ignorent la nature de la religion qu’ils revendiquent et infligent la plus grande dégradation de son image dans le monde. Ceux qui commettent ces actes ont perdu tout sentiment d’humanité et ne représentent aucune identité religieuse.

Outre les mesures de sécurité et de renseignement mises en place pour empêcher la réitération de telles attaques, il y a un besoin urgent de coopération entre les États et les organisations de la société civile, afin d’éliminer les environnements et les circonstances facilitant le recrutement aux groupes terroristes.

Je suis convaincu que les dirigeants des pays aux valeurs démocratiques fortes et aux normes juridiques universelles, tels que la Belgique, agiront avec prudence afin de générer des solutions durables qui incluent leurs citoyens musulmans et qui évitent d’alimenter les discours de haine des groupes terroristes.

Ces attaques terroristes ne portent pas seulement atteinte au peuple belge, mais aussi à la solidarité de toute l’humanité et aux valeurs humaines universelles. Je présente mes sincères condoléances aux familles et proches des victimes, ainsi qu’à l’ensemble du peuple belge. Je souhaite un prompt rétablissement à tous les blessés.

À cette occasion, je présente également toutes mes condoléances et prières aux citoyens du monde entier, y compris à ceux de mon pays, la Turquie, qui ont perdu leurs êtres aimés lors des attaques terroristes récentes.

Je prie Dieu pour qu’Il sauve l’humanité de ce fléau qu’est le terrorisme, et qu’Il répande une atmosphère où les êtres humains s’accueillent les bras ouverts, avec empathie, dans le monde entier.

Fethullah Gülen

Fethullah Gulen est un savant musulman, prédicateur et défendeur des droits sociaux, dont le long engagement pour l’altruisme et la tolérance interreligieuse a inspiré des millions en Turquie et à travers le monde. Gulen est le président honoraire de la plateforme de dialogue interculturel.

Fethullah Gülen veroordeelt de terroristische aanslagen in Brussel en betuigt medeleven aan slachtoffers en nabestaanden

Boodschap van Fethullah Gülen naar aanleiding van de terreuracties in de luchthaven van Zaventem en het Brusselse metrostation Maalbeek

Met klem en overtuiging veroordeel ik de moorddadige terreuraanvallen die op dinsdag 22 maart jl. in Zaventem en Brussel aan meer dan dertig mensen het leven kostten en er honderden verwondden.

Ongeacht de aard van de daders of hun motieven moet elke terroristische daad zonder enige terughoudendheid worden veroordeeld als een aanval op de heiligheid van het leven, als een moord op de mens en de menselijkheid. Geen enkele godsdienst, geen enkel gewetensvol mens kan en mag dergelijke wreedheid vergoelijken.

Diegenen die deze aanvallen planden, uitvoerden en ondersteun(d)en verguizen de ethiek van de religie die zij claimen uit te dragen. Integendeel, zij beschadig(d)en hun geloof in zijn essentie… bij uitbreiding elke religie. Zij die dit soort van daden bewust bedrijven verliezen elke voeling met hun eigen menszijn, ze kunnen onmogelijk een religieuze identiteit vertegenwoordigen.

Naast en aanvullend aan de vele veiligheidsmaatregelen noodzakelijk om individuele terreuraanvallen te voorkomen, lijkt nu – meer dan ooit – een hechte samenwerking tussen overheden en burgerorganisaties broodnodig. Mede hierdoor kunnen we een einde maken aan de rekrutering en gewelddadige radicalisering door terroristische groeperingen.

Ik heb een groot vertrouwen in de leiders van democratische landen, zoals België. Als rechtsstaat zal jullie land, met actieve participatie van zijn moslimburgers, krachtige en doeltreffende oplossingen vinden om de haatboodschappen van terroristen slagkrachtig te counteren.

Tegelijkertijd bied ik mijn diepste medeleven aan de slachtoffers, hun familie, naasten en vrienden… en de gehele Belgische bevolking. Mijn bijzondere aandacht gaat uit naar hen die overblijven na verlies van een geliefde of naaste bij de vele terreuraanvallen in alsmaar meer landen, mijn vaderland Turkije inbegrepen. Al deze gruweldaden die jullie land zo diep kwetsten, raken de hele mensheid en bedreigen de universele waarden van de mens.

 Ik bid God dat hij de mensheid zo snel mogelijk verlost van de gesel van het terrorisme. Ik hoop – blijf hopen – op een wereld waar broederlijkheid heerst.

Fethullah Gülen

Islamitische geleerde en prediker

Fethullah Gulen Condemns Brussels Terrorist Attacks

EXTENDS CONDOLENCES TO VICTIMS

Intercultural Dialogue Platform issued the following statement from Fethullah Gulen on the Brussels terrorist attacks.

I strongly condemn the brutal terrorist attacks at the Brussels International Airport and Metro station on March 22 that resulted in the deaths of more than 30 people and the injuries of hundreds.

Regardless of the perpetrators and their stated purposes, every terrorist attack is a murder and an attack on the sanctity of life itself, and deserves condemnation in the strongest terms. Neither a religion nor any human being with a conscience can condone such cruelty.

Those who carry out such attacks and who support the perpetrators are oblivious to the ethos of the religion that they proclaim, and inflict the biggest damage to the religion’s reputation in the world. Those who consciously perpetrate such acts have lost touch with their very humanity, and do not represent any religious identity.

In addition to the intelligence and security measures taken to prevent individual terrorist attacks, there is a pressing need for cooperation between states and civil society groups to eliminate swamp-like environments and conditions that facilitate recruitment by terrorist groups.

I am confident that leaders in countries with strong democratic and legal foundations, like Belgium, will act with prudence to develop lasting solutions that incorporate their Muslim citizens and avoid feeding into the hateful rhetoric of terrorist groups.

These heinous terrorist attacks have been inflicted not only on the Belgian people but also on the solidarity of humanity and universal human values. I send my deepest condolences to the relatives and loved ones of those who lost their lives, and the people of Belgium. I pray for the fast recovery of the wounded.

On this occasion I also send my condolences and prayers to the citizens of all countries, including my home land of Turkey, who lost their loved ones in recent terrorist attacks.

I pray to God, the Most Graceful, the Compassionate, to save humanity from the scourge of terrorism and spread an atmosphere around the world where people empathically embrace each other.

About Fethullah Gulen
Fethullah Gulen is an Islamic scholar, preacher and social advocate, whose decades‐long commitment to interfaith tolerance and altruism has inspired millions in Turkey and around the world. Gulen is the honorary chairman of the Intercultural Dialogue Platform, Brussels, Belgium; Foundation of Journalists and Writers, Istanbul, Turkey; and Rumi Forum, Washington DC.

Fethullah Gülen Statement on Paris Terrorist Attacks

14 November, Brussels

I strongly condemn the brutal terrorist attacks across Paris, France in the evening of Friday, November 13th, that resulted in the deaths and dismemberment of hundreds of innocent people.

Every terrorist activity, no matter where they occur, is a blow to the peace and tranquility of humanity everywhere. These revolting acts of terrorism are attacks not only against people of France but against universal human values that we all share and against human solidarity.

On this occasion I reiterate my categorical condemnation of all forms of terror regardless of its perpetrators or their stated purposes. No terrorist activity can ever be condoned on any grounds.

I send my deep condolences to the victims’ families, loved ones and the people of France.

I pray that God leads all humanity to a world of peace and tranquility. I invite everyone to join me in this prayer and act in solidarity against all forms of terrorism and in the effort to establish peace around the world.

About Fethullah Gulen
Fethullah Gulen is an Islamic scholar, preacher and social advocate, whose decades-long commitment to interfaith tolerance and altruism has inspired millions in Turkey and around the world. Gulen is the honorary president of Intercultural Dialogue Platform.

About Intercultural Dialogue Platform
Intercultural Dialogue Platform is a non-profit organisation based in Brussels with the aim of advancing and promoting inter-cultural dialogue in Europe.

Legal Report Reveals Systematic Human Rights Violations by AKP Government Against Hizmet Movement

PRESS RELEASE 

Legal Report Reveals Systematic Human Rights Violations by Turkish Government

* Abuses taken against the media curtailing freedom of speech

* Call for legal action at international level from European Court of Human Rights

Brussels, 28 September, 2015: Since December 2013, the Turkish government has perpetrated systematic human rights violations that justify legal action at international level, most likely before the European Court of Human Rights, a report published today has found.

Written by former Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales the Rt Hon The Lord Woolf CH, University College London Emeritus Professor of Public Law and the Director of the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law Sir Jeffrey Jowell KCMG QC, former Solicitor-General for England and Wales the Rt Hon Sir Edward Garnier QC MP, and human rights and media law barrister Sarah Palin, the report identifies supporters of the Gülen movement and the media, as the principal targets of the AKP government’s abuses.

The report’s findings come as the Erdoğan administration faces heightened international scrutiny over its crackdown on freedom of the press in Turkey. The recent arrest of two Vice News journalists and dawn raid on the Koza Izek group, which together in the past month have elicited renewed public outcry against the AKP-led government’s treatment of the media, are reminiscent of a number of events detailed in the report. The clearest parallel can be drawn with the December 2014 arrests of 15 purportedly Gülen-affiliated journalists, including Samanyolu Media Group chief executive Hidayet Karaça, whose court-ordered release the Istanbul chief public prosecutor’s office still refuses to carry out.

Commenting on the findings of the report, the authors said: “We have analysed the actions taken by the Turkish government and its agents since December 2013 and have unanimously concluded that there has been a distinct reversal in the reform process that had been taking place since Turkey began accession talks with the European Union in 2005.  We regard this as a serious setback for Turkish democracy and its respect for human rights, in particular for the freedom of speech and the rule of law.”

The report identifies three main ways in which the government’s subsequent actions against supporters of the Gülen movement have violated the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), as well as other human rights treaties to which the Turkish Republic is party:

– By taking unprecedented steps to exert executive authority over Turkey’s judiciary, police and prosecuting authorities are subsequently detaining outspoken media figures and police officers involved in the anticorruption operation in contravention of their rights to liberty, security, and a fair trial

– By suppressing freedom of expression, particularly in the media through the filing of criminal prosecutions against and exertion of economic and political pressure on journalists and publications, but also through interference with social media

 – By purging from public office, directing hate speech against, and interfering with the property rights of individuals and companies claimed to be associated with the Gülen movement

The authors added: “From the perspective of international human rights law, we consider that the Turkish government has perpetrated significant human rights violations against supporters of the Gülen movement that would justify legal action before the European Court of Human Rights, in the absence of suitable remedies in Turkey.”

For the full report or its executive summary, visit One Brick Court Chambers website.

ENDS

Notes to Editors

About the Gülen-inspired Hizmet movement:

The Hizmet movement is a civil society network of individuals and religious, humanitarian, and educational institutions that subscribe to Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen’s advocacy of interfaith dialogue, community service, and universal education.


About the report:

The report, titled “A Report on the Rule of Law and Respect for Human Rights in Turkey since December 2013”, was written by an independent, self-governing group of authors following a request by solicitors to the Journalists and Writers’ Foundation to conduct an independent inquiry into the actions of the Turkish government, its institutions and officials, against supporters of the Gülen movement. The subject material of this review included written statements provided by witnesses and victims, as well as Turkish legislation, court judgements, and summaries of witness testimonies.