Turkish Cleric, Accused in Coup Plot, Calls Crackdown ‘Dark Pages’ in History

M. Fethullah Gulen
M. Fethullah Gulen


Date posted: September 15, 2016

Rick Gladstone

The Turkish Muslim cleric accused by Turkey of plotting a failed coup two months ago denounced the repression of his supporters on Thursday, calling the crackdown “dark pages in world history.”

The cleric, Fethullah Gulen, who lives in self-imposed exile in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, said the arrests, purges and dismissals undertaken by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, a former ally, reflected the behavior of a man “seeking sovereignty for himself.”

Mr. Gulen accused the government of subjecting his followers to “oppression and tyranny.”

“My heart is aching,” he said.

Mr. Erdogan and his subordinates have blamed Mr. Gulen for the coup attempt, which left at least 271 people dead. Mr. Gulen is the overseer of a religious movement that runs schools, charities and other enterprises in a number of countries, but that the Turkish government considers a terrorist organization.

Mr. Gulen, 75, who has repeatedly denied involvement in the coup attempt, made his remarks in Turkish in a recorded video address to the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia, which streamed the address and provided a simultaneous translation.


The Turkish Muslim cleric accused by Turkey of plotting a failed coup two months ago denounced the repression of his supporters on Thursday, calling the crackdown “dark pages in world history.” The severity of the crackdown in Turkey has raised concerns in the United States and Europe that Mr. Erdogan has used the failed coup as a pretext to eradicate political rivals and groups he deems a threat to his power. 


It was Mr. Gulen’s first public comment about the coup attempt and its aftermath since Turkey, a United States ally, formally requested that the American authorities arrest him while Turkish prosecutors seek to have him extradited. Turkey’s semiofficial Anadolu news agency said Tuesday that the Justice Ministry had demanded his arrest on charges of “ordering and commanding the attempted coup.”

Mr. Gulen did not address the extradition issue. But his principal deputy, Y. Alp Aslandogan, who spoke to the World Affairs Council after the video was shown, said Mr. Gulen had no plans to leave the United States.

“He hasn’t done anything wrong,” Mr. Aslandogan said. “It’s not possible for the Turkish government to satisfy conditions for extradition. He’s not worried about it.”

The Obama administration has said it is taking the extradition request seriously. While Turkish officials have acknowledged that the process could take months, many are angry at the United States for what they view as lenient treatment of Mr. Gulen.

The severity of the crackdown in Turkey has raised concerns in the United States and Europe that Mr. Erdogan has used the failed coup as a pretext to eradicate political rivals and groups he deems a threat to his power. Mr. Erdogan and his subordinates have rejected those concerns.

Mr. Gulen said he believed that Mr. Erdogan had been caught off guard by the international response to the crackdown, saying the Turkish leader “did not realize how this would be perceived.”

Source: New York Times , September 15, 2016


Related News

Pro-gov’t dailies call Japanese foundation ‘parallel’ to denigrate award for Gülen

Several pro-government dailies have run stories with far-fetched allegations that a prestigious peace award was presented to Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen thanks to the sponsorship of a “parallel” — a defamatory term invented by the ruling party to describe Gülen and his sympathizers — foundation, even though the organization was founded in Japan.

Turkic American Alliance calls on Davutoğlu to prove letter of complaint claims

The Turkic American Alliance (TAA) has called on Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu to provide evidence substantiating his recent claims that individuals affiliated with Turkish schools abroad sent letters of complaint to foreign officials about Turkey.

Khamenei representative says will not set foot in paradise if Gülen is there

A representative of the Iranian mullah regime has voiced his dislike of Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, saying that he will not even enter paradise if Gülen is there.

Gülen rejects labeling of Hizmet as ‘gang,’ calls it ‘traitorous’

Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen has rejected the labeling of the Hizmet movement as a “gang,” saying those who uttered this word committed “traitorous” behavior. The term gang, “örgüt” in Turkish, has become a famous euphemism in Turkey to denote the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and has a negative connotation.

AKP official: Torture claims won’t be investigated if victims are Gülenists

A Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy has said there will be no investigations into claims of torture and mistreatment of people put into prison after a July 15 coup attempt if those victims are sympathizers of Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen.

Turkey further from EU accession than in 2007, Swoboda says

Swoboda said “The main problem is that there are severe accusations from Erdoğan against the Gülen movement over infiltrating the judiciary and the police. He is using this argument to change a lot of personalities in the judiciary and police, trying to restrict the independence of the Constitutional Court and the HSYK. Therefore, we fear for the independence of justice,”

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

Police detain student over fingerprints on Gülen books

Criminal complaint filed against media organizations publishing Gülen’s speeches

Today’s Zaman celebrates 6th anniversary with columnists, editors

New York Times : Hundreds of Police Officers Reassigned in Turkey

Practicing Muslims and negotiating with the Kurdists

Erdoğan’s image in the West

Syrian Refugees Relief Campaign

Copyright 2022 Hizmet News