Gülen says paying price for not supporting Erdoğan’s desire for presidential system


Date posted: September 9, 2016

In an interview with Politico magazine, Muslim scholar Fethullah Gülen, who is accused of masterminding Turkey’s foiled coup among other things, said President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan targeted him and the Hizmet movement when he declined to support Erdoğan’s ambition for an executive presidency.

“Mr Erdoğan put pressure on me and Hizmet sympathizers to publicly support his idea of a presidential system. He increased the pressure by supporting government-funded alternatives to Hizmet institutions and then began threatening to close them down,” Gülen stated in a written interview with Nahal Toosi, which was published on Friday. According to Gülen, Hizmet sympathizers are paying a heavy price for their independence. Yet, he says he does not have any regrets.

The Turkish cleric, who has been in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since 1999 as a result of political pressure in Turkey, denied accusations of “having a dark agenda” and said that if anyone following his teachings has been involved in any illegal activity, it means a “betrayal” of his peaceful teachings.

According to Gülen, by means of a relentless witch-hunt in the absence of rule of law, the Erdoğan government is trying to force Hizmet movement supporters into violence. However, Gülen said he is confident that they will continue to remain peaceful. According to Gülen, there is nobody in Turkey to stop Erdoğan’s “uninhibited ambitions.”

In response to a question on Turkey’s request for his extradition from the US, Gülen stated his belief that the US would not abandon its tradition of rule of law just to please Erdoğan.

The full text of the original interview can be found in this link.

Source: Turkish Minute , September 9, 2016


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