Turkey’s Koç: I met with Gülen; there is nothing wrong with that


Date posted: March 2, 2014

İSTANBUL

The CEO of one of Turkey’s largest conglomerates confirmed on Sunday that he met with prominent Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen in May, but dismissed government claims of conspiracy plots.

Mustafa Koç has come under fire by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan before, for allegedly “conspiring with foreign actors and Gülen to topple the ruling Justice and Development Party [AK Party].” In an interview with the Turkish daily Hürriyet, the successful businessman said there is nothing wrong with meeting leading actors in social and economic fields, adding that people should stop using this as a tool for defamation campaigns.

“I met Gülen during a trip to the United States in May; earlier claims that we are part of a foreign-backed plan to destroy the power structure of the current government and design a new system of rule in Turkey are baseless,” Koç asserted. Erdoğan has been at odds with Koç since last summer’s nationwide Gezi Park protests, when Erdoğan accused Koç of sponsoring anti-government protests. Koç companies previously faced a government crackdown over allegations of tax fraud, and a recent illegally recorded phone conversation alleging that Gülen had sent Koç “valuable” gifts has led to increased government pressure on Koç.

In one of the illegally recorded phone conversations, Mustafa Günay, the secretary-general of the Turkish Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists (TUSKON), is heard telling Gülen that he had sent Ugandan pineapples to businessmen, including Koç, as gifts. Günay was also consulting Gülen about a tender for a refinery in that country, saying a Turkish company — Koç Holding, if possible — should enter it.

“Yes, I received a box of pineapples from Uganda and I must say they were really delicious. Later, I called them [TUSKON] and thanked them for the gift,” Koç told Hürriyet. In reaction to some who alleged that “pineapple” was a code word for diamonds, Koç said those statements are untrue.

Koç said he once traveled to Africa with TUSKON members, which was seen as a big issue by some circles. “There is nothing more normal than this; we are businesspeople,” he said. TUSKON, the biggest business organization in Turkey, has connections all around the world and its member companies are at the forefront of trade with Africa. There was no Turkish embassy in Uganda when Turkish entrepreneurs first went to the country 11 years ago to open schools. “I am personally in close contact with business confederations like the Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen’s Association [TÜSİAD] and TUSKON, and we have always remained out of politics. We have business ties in Africa; our group made serious investments in South Africa in 2011 and people should be happy to see a Turkish firm investing in Africa instead of fabricating conspiracies,” Koç said, without naming Erdoğan directly.

Meanwhile, Gülen has filed criminal complaints against a number of people who illegally wiretapped his phone conversations with friends, as well as against media outlets and websites that published defamatory, distorted voice recordings of Gülen.

Source: Todays Zaman , March 2, 2014


Related News

GYV urges government to accelerate reforms in favor of media freedoms

The Journalists and Writers Foundation (GYV) has called on the Turkish government to speed up pro-freedom reforms and to bring its laws in line with European Union standards in order to do away with problems caused by limits on freedom of expression and freedom of the press. The foundation released a statement on Wednesday regarding […]

Turkmen Alevite Association and Kimse Yok Mu distribute aid to 1840 families in Ramadan

Özdemir Özdemir, president of Turkmen Alevite Association, thanked Kimse Yok Mu and expressed that Ramadan is an important time for Alevite-Sunni brotherhood. Two organizations worked together, showing a good example of solidarity and brotherhood. The Alevite association identified 1840 needy families in Ankara and distributed food packages, which were supported by Kimse Yok Mu.

“Sharing Coexistence Experiences” panel took place in Italy

“From 1990 onwards, dialogue was institutionalized and today’s Intercultural Dialogue Platform came into being, thanks to the initiatives of JWF Honorary President Fethullah Gulen. Consequently, joints projects have been carried out in cooperation with Msgr.. Marovitch from the Catholic world, who had been following the footsteps of Dubois; alongside Armenian, Jewish, Assyrian representatives.

Kurds, Turkey and growing with Öcalan’s help?

As far as the Kurds living in other countries are concerned, as Fethullah Gülen underscored in his Rudaw newspaper interview, Turkey should not only be interested in the well-being of Turks’ ethnic brothers in other countries but also Kurds’ and other ethnically non-Turkish citizens’ brothers and relatives all over the world. Thus, instead of seeing an autonomous Kurdish region in northern Syria as a threat, we must be happy that our Kurdish relatives on the other side of the border will hopefully have better living standards and human rights.

Erdogan’s bid to close Gulen schools in Africa opposed

Several African states have rejected Turkey’s request to close schools run by the Hizmet movement. Turkish President Erdogan accused Fethullah Gulen, who owns Hizmet, of involvement in the failed July 15 coup. When Turkish President Erdogan visited Uganda and Kenya in May, he sought to stamp out the influence of the Islamic cleric Gulen. He accused the preacher of using his connections to try to overthrow him, allegations which Gulen denied.

Pro-government Yeni Şafak daily fires critical columnist

Pro-government newspaper Yeni Şafak has fired journalist Osman Özsoy after the columnist hinted government pressure on the newspaper to let him go on his Twitter account on Monday.

Latest News

Fethullah Gülen’s Condolence Message for South African Human Rights Defender Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Hizmet Movement Declares Core Values with Unified Voice

Ankara systematically tortures supporters of Gülen movement, Kurds, Turkey Tribunal rapporteurs say

Erdogan possessed by Pharaoh, Herod, Hitler spirits?

Devious Use of International Organizations to Persecute Dissidents Abroad: The Erdogan Case

A “Controlled Coup”: Erdogan’s Contribution to the Autocrats’ Playbook

Why is Turkey’s Erdogan persecuting the Gulen movement?

Purge-victim man sent back to prison over Gulen links despite stage 4 cancer diagnosis

University refuses admission to woman jailed over Gülen links

In Case You Missed It

First-Ever Comprehensive Biography on Fethullah Gülen

Turkey, ‘The Devil’s Advocate’ and ‘Titanic’

Islamic scholar Gülen urges followers to remain calm in face of insults

Organization (Kimse Yok Mu?) helped 79 Syrian families

Enes Kanter: Anyone who speaks out against Erdogan is a target. That includes me.

Censored by theft: Man caught stealing copies of Zaman daily

The Islamic roots of the conflict in Turkey

Copyright 2022 Hizmet News