Law firms press charges against Gülen in favor of al-Qaeda-linked group

Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen. (Photo: Today's Zaman, Selahattin Sevi)
Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen. (Photo: Today's Zaman, Selahattin Sevi)


Date posted: December 11, 2015

Two law firms have filed a complaint against US-based Turkish Islamic scholar for allegedly orchestrating a conspiracy against a radical Turkish group that is believed to have links to Al-Qaeda.

The charges are primarily derived from a similar investigation in Turkey, where Fethullah Gülen is accused of issuing encrypted instructions to his sympathizers in the police force through an online sermon to target Tahşiye, a radical Islamist group linked with al-Qaeda.

Members of Tahşiye, whose leader publicly acknowledged that he loves al-Qaeda’s slain leader Osama bin Ladin, were detained in 2010 as part of an investigation into the organization. Observers believe Turkish authorities are using the Tahşiye investigation to frame the Gülen movement for an alleged conspiracy. The investigation in Turkey is mocked by jurists for its “ludicrous” and trumped-up charges.

A British law firm retained by the Turkish government is now pressing similar charges in the US. London-based Amsterdam & Partners LLP and US-based Fox Rothschild LLP announced in a press conference in Washington on Wednesday that they have filed a complaint against Gülen, requesting a jury trial. They alleged that Gülen gave his instructions via a weekly sermon he delivers from his residence in the US, where he has been living since 1999 in self-imposed exile.

Bünyamin Ateş, Turgut Yıldırım and Murat Oztürk were listed as plaintiffs and claimed that Gülen used the term “Tahşiye” in one of his sermons to liken the group “to the terrorist organization al-Qaeda and predicted that Tahşiye would be given military weaponry and would engage in violent activity against innocent civilians in Turkey.”

In May 2010, the police raided the homes and offices of 112 people affiliated with the Tahşiye organization, discovering three hand grenades, one smoke bomb, seven handguns, 18 hunting rifles, electronic parts for explosives, knives and a large cache of ammunition.

The probe also revealed that the Tahşiye organization had sent almost 100 people to Afghanistan for armed militant training. According to seized footage that was aired on CNN Türk TV station at the time, Mehmet Doğan, the head of the group, was heard calling for jihad.

In the footage he can be heard saying that the head of the government in Turkey and the head of the Directorate of Religious Affairs are foreigners and should be killed. “I say, pick up your gun and kill them,” Doğan said.

He was also heard asking his followers to build bombs and mortars in their homes, claiming that Islam allows such practices. “If the sword is not used, then this is not Islam,” Doğan said. He also claimed that Egypt, Syria, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan and India will soon be destroyed because they are not governed by Shariah law.

Doğan said that he “loves Osama bin Laden” on a live TV program on CNN Türk in December 2014. In another video extensively broadcast on Turkish TV stations, Doğan is heard praising both bin Laden and al-Qaeda.

Amsterdam & Partners LLP and Fox Rothschild LLP claim Gülen “had access to a network of loyal state officials — police, prosecutors and judges — in Turkey willing to do his bidding” adding the accusation that “police chiefs loyal to Mr. Gülen” applied to “judges loyal to Mr. Gülen” for judicial consent to wiretap telephones belonging to members of the Tahşiye organization.

They also accuse police of “illegal entry” entry into the premises of the Tahşiye members and of “planting inert explosive devices inside the premises in order to fraudulently incriminate the members of the Doğan Movement.”

The firms claim that Gülen’s “co-conspirators in Turkey illegally planted evidence, fabricated search warrants, secured illegal wiretaps and ultimately arrested plaintiffs without any legal basis, unlawfully detaining them for periods of up to 20 months.”

Dozens arrested in counter operations against police who undertook Tahşiye raids

Dozens of police officers have been detained and several arrested in a counter operation against the police officers who conducted the raids against the Tahşiye organization. In July, seven police officers were detained in the third wave of operations in the investigation spearheaded by the İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.

Nearly a year ago on Dec. 14, 2014, the Turkish authorities launched a counter-operation to detain suspects from various segments of society, including several journalists, who were accused of taking part in an alleged conspiracy to target the Tahşiye group.

A total of 31 suspects were detained on Dec. 14, 2014, including former Zaman Editor-in-Chief Ekrem Dumanlı and Samanyolu Broadcasting Corporation chief Hidayet Karaca. Dumanlı was subsequently released on Dec. 19, however, Karaca has been in jail for nearly a year along with three others.

Karaca is being charged with heading a terrorist group based on a TV series broadcasted years ago on television. The serial, aired on STV, was accused of being the inspiration for a 2010 police raid against the “Tahşiyeciler.”

Karaca claims the real reason he was incarcerated is because of the Samanyolu TV channel’s airing of news reports pertaining to two major graft probes that went public in December 2013, after which four ministers in then-Prime Minister Erdoğan’s cabinet had to resign due to allegations of their involvement in corruption, bribery and the facilitation of an illegal gold trade.

Robert Amsterdam began smear campaign against Hizmet in October

In October, Robert Amsterdam, founding partner of Amsterdam & Partners LLP said in Washington on Monday that the Turkish government had hired the firm to “conduct a global investigation” into the activities of the Hizmet movement.

“We have been retained by the [Turkish] Republic to expose allegedly unlawful conduct by the Gülen network worldwide,” Amsterdam said during a press conference, which was not publicly announced.

Only hand-picked pro-government Turkish media were invited to the briefing, and the live broadcast of the event was cut when the floor was opened to questions.

Whistleblower: Erdoğan hired Amsterdam & Partners to shut down Gülen schools

Recently, a government deep throat claimed that the Erdoğan administration hired the London-based law firm, Amsterdam & Partners LLP, on a $50,000 per month contract but added that the administration is also underhandedly paying millions to the law-firm via the Presidential Discretionary Fund.

The tweets came from whistleblower Fuat Avni, who claimed on his Twitter account that Amsterdam & Partners LLP was hired upon the request of Erdoğan with the research of Turkish spy chief Hakan Fidan and former Foreign Minister Feridun Sinirlioğlu.

Avni also wrote of Erdoğan’s “glee” when his advisors told him, “there is nothing, not even illegal jobs, that we can’t make this law firm do.”

Erdoğan, who claims the Gülen Movement, also known as the Hizmet movement, tried and failed to carry out a coup attempt against him. Since then, the government has waged a self-declared war against the civil society organization.

Erdoğan routinely refers to the movement as the “parallel structure,” a term invented by him and his associates within the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) to refer to members of the Hizmet movement for instigating two corruption probes that went public on Dec. 17 and 25, 2013.

According to the whistleblower, Erdoğan also wants this law firm to investigate the possibility of an extradition of Gülen from the US.

Erdoğan made his desire regarding Gülen’s extradition from the US clear. According to Avni, Erdoğan told his advisors: “Try everything. Find a way to have Gülen extradited and the schools abroad closed.”

During a live broadcast in March 2014, then-Prime Minister Erdoğan told journalists that he raised the topic of Gülen’s extradition during a recent phone conversation with Obama.

“I told Obama that the person who is responsible for the unrest in Turkey lives in your country, in Pennsylvania. I told him this clearly. I said, ‘I expect what’s necessary [to be done].’ You have to take the necessary stance if someone threatens my country’s security,” Erdoğan said.

Source: Today's Zaman , December 10, 2015


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