Fethullah Gülen always supported settlement process, lawyer says

Date posted: September 23, 2013

Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen has always supported the settlement process aimed at ending decades of conflict in Turkey, his lawyer said on Sunday.
“Gülen has always made positive statements about the [settlement] process,” Nurullah Albayrak, Gülen’s lawyer, said.

Albayrak’s remarks were aimed at dismissing claims that Gülen was “sabotaging” the settlement process and supported arrests as part of an investigation into the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), an umbrella organization of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Albayrak described the allegations as an “untrue and ill-intentioned distortion.”

Noting that the claims are “unfair,” Albayrak said that everyone with a conscience who believes in the rule of law will not accept claims that Gülen sabotaged the settlement process while he has throughout his life defended peace, brotherhood, humanitarian efforts, tolerance and dialogue. He said Gülen also promoted dialogue instead of conflict in solving national problems.

The Turkish government has been holding talks with jailed leader of the PKK Abdullah Öcalan under the settlement process since October last year to find a peaceful and political solution to the decades-old Kurdish dispute and to the armed conflict. Öcalan called on PKK militants to withdraw from Turkish soil to northern Iraq in a message on March 21, on the day of Nevruz, the spring festival of Kurds. The PKK announced on May 8 that it had begun to withdraw its forces from Turkey. Earlier this month, the leader of the PKK’s military wing, Cemil Bayık, announced that they were halting withdrawal because the government failed to make their end of the bargain.

Albayrak recalled Gülen’s earlier remarks in which he said there is a need to restore peace for all and to prove that it is possible to cohabitate in peace. He said Gülen supported the settlement process by saying that it is impossible not to stand in support of perennial activities in the region that are aimed at ending the bloodshed.

“Everyone should be very careful and act with restraint and not be tricked into provocations. Problems won’t be solved by yelling, screaming or slogans. One needs to settle problems by not yelling, burning, destroying or killing but with wisdom, prudence and compassion,” Albayrak cited Gülen as saying about the settlement process.

Gülen’s lawyer also said he earlier voiced strong support for education in one’s mother tongue, in reference to allowing the use of Kurdish in education in Turkey.

Gülen said basic human rights and freedoms could not be the object of any political bargaining as they are the natural rights of human beings. He asserted that recognition of the use of mother tongue in education as a principle is indicative of a state’s fair treatment of its citizens.

Albayrak also rejected claims that Gülen supported the arrest of KCK suspects, stressing that his client has never stood by or against any suspect during judicial prosecutions. “It is also impossible to do so,” the lawyer underlined.

The lawyer questioned the goals of those who spread similar allegations and said it is obvious that such claims are made to detract from the judicial proceedings.

Source: Today's Zaman , September 22, 2013

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