Fethullah Gulen: I strongly condemn the brutal terrorist attack Monday on the metro in St. Petersburg, Russia, which cost the lives of 11 people and injured dozens more. Words fail to express my sorrow at the loss of innocent lives and suffering of their loved ones.
The on-camera murder of Russian ambassador Andrey Karlov by 22-year-old Turkish police officer Mevlut Mert Altintas raised some disturbing questions about corruption and security in Turkey. In an interview with Hurriyet Daily News, Altintas’s step-sister Seher made those questions even more disturbing by claiming her brother was radicalized in police school.
While the Turkish government insists on claiming that Mert Altıntaş, the police officer who assassinated the Russian ambassador to Ankara, is linked to the Gülen movement, it has been discovered that the gunman attended the sermons of Nurettin Yıldız, a staunch supporter of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Ironically, Erdogan finds it more expedient to blame Hizmet, rather than Daesh (IS), for the jihadist atrocities being consistently perpetrated in Turkey today. Thus, the Turkish Islamist president has got a scapegoat following all terror incidents of jihadist nature or other internal crisis engulfing the country.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s claim that US-based Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen was behind the assassination of Russia’s ambassador to Turkey on Monday is an insult to Russian intelligence, a prominent Russian analyst said.
No investigation has been launched in the United States in connection with Turkey’s comments of the Gulen movement’s possible role in the Russian ambassador’s murder, a senior US Department of State official told TASS.
John Kirby, spokesman of the US State Department, said “Secretary [Kerry] has raised concerns about some of the rhetoric coming out of Turkey with respect to American involvement or support, tacit or otherwise, for this unspeakable assassination yesterday because of the presence of Mr. Gülen here in the United States.”
The Jabhat Fatah al-Sham organization (formerly the al-Nusra Front) claimed to be responsible for Monday’s murder of Russian Ambassador Andrey Karlov’s in Ankara. Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu had even told his US counterpart John Kerry that both Turkey and Russia “know” that the Gulen movement was behind the ambassador’s murder.
Karlov’s murderer was Mevlüt Mert Altintas. He did not grow up in a vacuum. Five years ago, Erdogan acknowledged his goal was “to raise a religious generation.” Altintas is its product. He was seven years old when Erdogan came to power; his whole schooling was under Erdogan. If history is any pattern, the violence in Turkey is just beginning and Erdogan will not be able to contain it, even if he is inclined to try.
“We are shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the tragic assassination of Russia’s Ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov, who was speaking at an art gallery in Ankara,” said Eyup Sener, chairman of the Turkish Cultural Center New Hampshire. “We condemn in the strongest terms this heinous act of terror. No terrorist act can be justified, regardless of its perpetrators and their stated purposes.”
Turkey has a terror problem. The Islamic State, Kurdish extremists and radical leftists each pursue targets inside Turkey seemingly with impunity. Turkey is no stranger to terrorism, but for decades it managed to control the problem. Turkey’s security forces were efficient. Today, however, the situation has changed. Turkish President Erdogan has purged the military, the police, and intelligence professionals.
In the interview that was published at one of Russia’s most popular newspapers, Moskovskiy Komsomolets, Mr. Gülen talked about the aircraft crisis between Russia and Turkey, the divided state of the Muslim world, secularism, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and terrorism. “Certain things done [the Turkish government] in recent years were wrong. The downing of that warplane was wrong,” he said.