Lawyer: Claims about Gülen followers among ‘jihadist group’ baseless defamation


Date posted: September 13, 2013

The lawyer of Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen has strongly dismissed claims by a French publication that followers of Gülen are among members of an alleged jihadist formation encouraged by Turkey to fight a political offshoot of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Syria as baseless slanders.
“The claim in question is first of all a blatant and baseless slander that is based on no evidence. Mentioning the name of my client, who based his entire life on tolerance, dialogue, peace, love for people and one’s country, is, to say the least, ruthless and shows a lack of intelligence,” said lawyer Nurullah Albayrak in a statement on Thursday.

France’s Intelligence Online claimed in a story in its latest issue published on Wednesday that Turkey encouraged the formation of a jihadist brigade called “Katibat al-Taliban” (KaT), which is reportedly made up almost exclusively of Kurds, to fight with the Democratic Union Party (PYD). The story also claimed that some fighters of the alleged group were “members of the PKK who converted to Islam in Turkish prisons,” while others come from schools established by followers of Gülen.

“The claims that students receiving education at schools founded by members of the Gülen movement are among the members of a group that was set up to get ready for war is a baseless and unfair slander which obviously aims to defame my client and members of the volunteers’ movement,” Albayrak said.

The statement said anybody who has a conscience and believes in the rule of law would not accept associating educational institutions that were opened by followers of Gülen — who defended peace and brotherhood and tolerance and promoted peace in addressing social problems throughout his life — with “war.”

The lawyer also vowed to take legal action against the publication, calling the publication’s associating the names of such educational institutions inspired by Gülen with activities other than education “unlawful.”

“We leave the aim of defaming my client, who has no other thought than serving humanity, to the discretion of the public,” he added.

Gülen is a Turkish Islamic scholar well known for his teachings promoting mutual understanding and tolerance between cultures. He has pioneered educational activities in a number of countries, along with efforts to promote intercultural and interfaith activities around the world.

He has also written nearly 50 books in Turkish, some of which have been translated into several languages.

Source: Today's Zaman , September 13, 2013


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