The disgraceful action of issuing an arrest warrant for Mr Gulen is the latest step of various human rights violations, character assassinations, defamation, hate speech, incrimination and unlawful conduct perpetrated by Erdogan’s government against the Hizmet movement in Turkey and elsewhere.
The arrest warrant was only issued after a series of amendments were made to the relevant laws and legal system, including the dismissal of judges and prosecutors and reassignment of new ones, all of which runs contrary to the rule of law, the separation of powers, fair trial and the legal standards set by international covenants to which Turkey is a signatory country. This action clearly proves that Erdogan and his government are abusing its power to intimidate and threaten its critics – hallmarks of an autocratic regime.
The warrant and the recent arrests of journalists took place on the first anniversary of the corruption investigations which implicated Erdogan and his inner circle. Many have interpreted the timing of these recent arrests as an attempt by the government to distract public attention away from the corruption investigations, the presidential palace, nepotism and efforts to censor critical press and commentary.
Mr. Gulen has consistently encouraged people to promote democracy, education and dialogue over the decades. Instead of recognizing this service, Erdogan`s government issues false charges to bully, harass and distract.
The Erdogan government’s repressive actions and policies to silence critical voices in Turkey will not only lead to further polarization of Turkish society but also derail the country’s course for membership of the European Union.
We urge European leaders, countries and organisations to support Turkish democracy and increase their efforst to speed up Turkish accession process while at the same time to condemn increasingly anti-democratic actions of the government.
About Dialogue Platform
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.