600 complaints filed alleging slander, libel against Gülen


Date posted: March 29, 2014

ANKARA

A total of 600 complaints have been filed against those who have slandered and libeled Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen since a major corruption and bribery investigation became public on Dec. 17 of last year.

In the months since the corruption scandal broke, Gülen’s lawyer, Nurullah Albayrak, has filed complaints some 600 times against those who have defamed Gülen. Nearly 500 of those complaints were filed with the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has political immunity, and therefore no criminal complaints may be filed against him, but Gülen’s lawyer has filed slander suits against Erdoğan. Gülen’s lawyer has also filed a separate suit against Prime Minister Erdoğan accusing him of violating Gülen’s personal rights and inciting hatred and fuelling hostility in society with hate speech used at Erdoğan’s party rallies.

The Hizmet movement inspired by Gülen, its supporters and Gülen himself have been exposed to a large-scale defamation campaign conducted by circles close to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) since a major corruption scandal that implicated four government ministers and many other state bureaucrats and high-ranking individuals. The government accuses Gülen and his movement of being behind what he says is a fabricated corruption investigation aimed at toppling his government. Several top government officials have used unsubstantiated and harsh defamatory expressions with reference to Gülen at almost every recent meeting or AK Party rally.

In addition to libel suits, Gülen’s lawyer, Albayrak, has also sent a total of 25 formal requests for a correction to pro-government dailies such as Sabah, Star, Yenişafak and Akit for false reports on Gülen and the Hizmet movement.

Albayrak also filed a criminal complaint against pro-government Sabah daily columnist Sevilay Yükselir for using untrue statements about Gülen in her column and during TV news programs she has participated in. Several criminal complaints were also filed against Fatih Tezcan, who is the owner of the website “Analizmerkezi.com,” for baseless comments about Gülen in Twitter posts, on TV news programs and on his website. A libel suit was also filed against Tezcan on the same charges. Among other things, Tezcan claimed on his website that Gülen was linked to American and Israel intelligence organizations, an allegation Gülen denies.

Gülen’s lawyer also filed a criminal complaint against Akit daily columnist Mehtap Yılmaz on the grounds that she gravely violated the personal rights of Gülen. In addition, a libel suit was filed against Star daily columnist Elif Çakır, who used unfounded defamatory words about Gülen in her March 16 column titled “Fethullah Gülen’s small betrayal.”

 

Source: Todays Zaman , March 28, 2014


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