Date posted: March 29, 2014
Gülen, who resigned from the Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) as a religious official and preacher in 1981, obtained the green passport after an application to officials in 1991 following adoption a new law that enabled resigned public servants to acquire passport.
Turkey’s green passport is a special passport that allows the bearer to travel visa-free to certain countries.
It is yet unclear whether Gülen will be able to obtain a normal Turkish passport or face any difficulties with travel following the cancellation.
The decision came after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan stepped up his inflammatory rhetoric against the Hizmet movement, inspired by Gülen, accusing the Islamic scholar of plotting to unseat him, a claim which has been firmly denied by Gülen.
Nurullah Albayrak, Gülen’s lawyer, said the decision to cancel the scholar’s passport is politically motivated and has no legal basis. He said Gülen was granted a green passport after his application to the relevant authorities following the adoption of Article 4 of Law No. 5682, which allows certain state officials and retired or resigned public servants to apply for a green passport after a review of their status during their work.
Article 4 also allows those who have resigned from their posts to obtain a green passport after an extensive assessment of their profiles by the authorities. Albayrak underlined that the Religious Affairs Directorate had offered an endorsement for Gülen’s application in 1990 which had paved the way for Gülen to receive the passport.
Officials in the Erzurum governor’s office, however, claimed that the Religious Affairs Directorate’s endorsement was inconsistent with the legal requirements and was not legally enough to grant Gülen the green passport at that time.
Albayrak, however, dismissed that claim.
Source: Todays Zaman , March 28, 2014