It added that Gülen and Hizmet participants should be recognized for their service to society and for fostering dialogue and understanding between Turkey and the world. Instead, it said, the Turkish government “shamefully uses false pretense to oppress and harass its own citizens, both within and outside Turkey.”
The statement noted that Erdoğan and his supporters have failed to provide any evidence to justify their accusations despite a months-long defamation campaign and that any evidence introduced in the future will be scrutinized as possibly fabricated.
“While we remain concerned about Erdoğan attempting to take undue advantage of Turkey’s strategic relationship with the US, we place our trust in the US tradition of democracy and the rule of law, and believe that Erdoğan’s move will ultimately be seen as yet another alarming attempt by his government to suppress the freedom of their citizens and silence their critics,” the AFSV highlighted.
“Unfortunately,” the statement concluded, “his actions will only achieve one thing: They will continue to polarize Turkey and isolate the Turkish people from their democratic allies around the world.”