UK Parliament: No evidence that Gülen, movement behind coup attempt


Date posted: March 25, 2017

Contrary to accusations made by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Turkish government, the Foreign Affairs Committee of the UK Parliament has concluded that Fethullah Gülen and the movement he inspired as a whole were not behind a failed coup attempt in Turkey on July 15.

The committee concluded that “Given the brutality of the events of 15 July, the severity of the charges made against the Gülenists, and the scale of the purges of perceived Gülenists that has been justified on this basis, there is a relative lack of hard, publicly–available evidence to prove that the Gülenists as an organisation were responsible for the coup attempt in Turkey. While there is evidence to indicate that some individual Gülenists were involved, it is mostly anecdotal or circumstantial, sometimes premised on information from confessions or informants, and is—so far—inconclusive in relation to the organisation as a whole or its leadership.”

A statement issued Saturday morning by the FAC as it released its report said, “The Committee took evidence from the Gülenists, including an oral hearing which stands as a rare example of the movement being scrutinised in public,” and that in contradiction to claims made over the past two years by Erdoğan and the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, “The FCO [The Foreign & Commonwealth Office] did not have evidence to justify the designation of the Gülenists as a terrorist organisation by the UK, and the Committee agrees with this assessment.”

A report titled “The UK’s relations with Turkey” and issued on Saturday by the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee also elaborated on the issue.

Underlining that “nine months after the coup attempt, neither the UK nor Turkish governments can point the FAC to one person who has been found guilty by a court of involvement in the coup attempt, let alone anyone being found guilty with evidence of involvement with Gülenist motives,” the report said: “We also note that, despite Turkey purportedly submitting 80 boxes of ‘evidence’ to the US to achieve the extradition of Fethullah Gülen on the basis that he masterminded the coup attempt, the US judiciary has not yet moved to deport him.”

“Gülenists are unlikely to have been the only elements involved in the coup attempt. Kemalist elements within the military, those who opposed the AK Party, or those who simply wished to preserve their own positions, are also likely to have been involved. Some, especially in the lower ranks of the military, appeared to have taken part, at least initially, without realising that they were involved in a coup attempt,” the report added.

After statements from Germany and the US

The UK Parliament statement came a week after Germany rejected Erdoğan and the Turkish government’s accusations against the Gülen movement about July 15.

Last week the head of Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service (BND), Bruno Kahl, said Turkey could not convince them that US-based Turkish-Islamic scholar Gülen was behind a failed coup attempt on July 15.

Similarly, Devin Nunes, chairman of United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said he has not seen any evidence showing Gülen’s involvement in the failed coup attempt in Turkey.

Democratic culture and human rights undermined

In the statement, the Foreign Affairs Committee also affirmed the importance of Turkey as an international partner for the UK but raises concerns about the weakening of both democracy and human rights in the country as the UK moves to strengthen the bilateral relationship.

Expressing that the UK was right to support Turkey against the threat posed by the coup attempt, the FAC, however, underlined: “The actions undertaken by the Turkish government under its current State of Emergency undermine democratic culture and human rights in Turkey. In the effort to secure its wider interests, the UK risks being perceived as deprioritising its own values in human rights.”

Despite the scale of the threat faced by Turkey, the committee concluded that the Turkish government’s response has been disproportionate.

Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Crispin Blunt MP, commented:

“Turkey is an important strategic partner facing a volatile period. It needs and deserves our support, but that support needs to include our critique where Turkish policy is not in its own, or our joint long-term interests: these are regional security and stability as well as strong and accountable institutions in Turkey.
“The current purges by the Turkish government amount to a root-and-branch attempt to eradicate the Gülenist movement from positions of public influence, but they have also extended beyond that to affect opposition and pro-Kurdish activists.
“Large numbers have been punished on the basis of a broad and vague definition of ‘terrorism’ and a worryingly low threshold of evidence. Many of those dismissed and detained have been punished without trial or access to the evidence against them. There are alarmingly inadequate avenues for redress.
“These purges risk undermining Turkey’s reputation, its economy, the UK’s ability to trade there, and the capabilities of the Turkish military against shared enemies such as ISIL. More fundamentally, they undermine the values of human rights and democracy in Turkey, already significantly weakened before the coup.
“We met President Erdoğan during our visit, and he has made himself as central to twenty-first century Turkey as Mustafa Kemal Atatürk was in the twentieth century. But now is a profound moment of decision for him and his divided country. Whether he secures an executive presidency or not, the choices that President Erdoğan now makes will determine whether Turkey will be a repressive or a recovering state. Avoiding catastrophe, and instead shaping a positive outcome, is clearly in the interest of the UK’s economy, security, and values.
“The FCO must help Turkey reinforce accountable state institutions, while also developing ties far beyond them: the UK needs a deeper and therefore more durable relationship with the Turkish people, whichever background they hold, while working to uphold the values of human rights and democracy that benefit them all.
“The Foreign Affairs Committee visited Turkey in January 2017 and put questions to the senior political leadership, including President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. It heard from a wide range of activists, journalists, and analysts – as well as business leaders and young Turkish citizens.
“There is an intolerance of alternative narratives in Turkey, with the Turkish government broadly suppressing, discrediting, or punishing those who contradict its authorised accounts of sensitive events. The powers afforded by the State of Emergency—combined with a vaguely-framed definition of terrorism, a pliant media, and a politicised judiciary—have allowed the government to silence a broad spectrum of critics by labelling them as ‘Gülenists’ or ‘terrorists’ on the basis of light evidence or broad interpretations. While the Committee supports the British Government’s effort to win itself a voice to help deliver a positive future for Turkey, it must not forget its responsibilities to promote our democratic values. And therefore it recommends that Turkey is listed as a Human Rights Priority country.”

Source: Turkish Minute , March 25, 2017


Related News

Opposition lashes out at terror investigation against Kimse Yok Mu

Opposition deputies have shown strong reactions to a shocking investigation being conducted by the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office against prominent charity organization Kimse Yok Mu on charges of terrorism, defining the probe as an “oddity of law.”

Germany Accuses Turkey Of ‘Unacceptable’ Spying Against Gülen Supporters

Boris Pistorius, the Interior Minister for Lower Saxony State of Germany, has accused Turkey of carrying out “unacceptable” spying on its soil. It is accused of conducting espionage in more than 200 associations and schools linked to supporters of Fethullah Gülen. Pistorius said the move was “intolerable and unacceptable.”

Cagaptay: Turkey moves far beyond Europe

Recently, visiting Istanbul, I attended a conference on the Arab Spring organized by Abant Platform, a local NGO that gathers Turkish intellectuals of different stripes for policy debates. The conference – this time with attendees from Washington, Tel Aviv, London, St. Petersburg and Arab capitals in addition to Turks – debated Turkey’s leadership role in […]

‘State of rule of law suspended in Turkey, if not completely eliminated’

I’ve been in the military judiciary for years and I haven’t observed anything like it [“parallel state” in regards to the Hizmet movement], and I haven’t observed it in the civilian judiciary, either.

Turkey’s Ongoing Crackdown: nearly 13,000 police officers suspended for alleged links to the Gulen movement

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has suspended nearly 13,000 police officers over suspected links to Fethullah Gulen, the U.S.-based cleric Turkey says is responsible for the July 15 coup attempt. Erdogan’s critics believe he has used the coup as an opportunity to crack down on his political opposition. Erdogan was often accused of trying to silence critics.

Gülen, the most important figure of tolerance and dialogue

In the West, especially in the United States, an increasing number of scholars have discovered Gülen to be a man of love and tolerance and consider his teaching as a model of dialogue.

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

Fethullah Gulen’s books draw large interest in Sweden

Georgia: MEP Rebecca Harms on Asylum for Cabuk

You cannot fool all the people all the time

Renowned Canadian professor lauds Honorable Gulen and Hizmet Movement

Gülen won’t change his stand, urges followers’ patience

Pakistan plans to expel Turkish teachers linked to opposition at home

Would you buy me a pair of eyes on Valentine’s Day?

Copyright 2022 Hizmet News