Answers by Fethullah Gulen
According claims in the media based on some video cassettes you are planning to take over the state and for this purpose you have been covertly getting organized within the government institutions? Is that right?
It is impossible for me to accept the claims made against me based on the cut-and-paste version of the video tapes taken from some of my recorded speeches. Let me clarify a few points:
First of all, such claims have been made before and all of them were dismissed either during the investigation or by the court.
Secondly, while the media in question is so diligently unearthing such devastating evidence against me what have the state's intelligence agencies been doing?
Thirdly, all business operations and entities claimed to be connected with me are legitimate business organizations and foundations operating within the laws of Turkish Republic. Even if one had the intent to take over the government, one can only be prosecuted for his actions, not for his thoughts. This is an important rule of law.
Fourthly, as far as I can remember, the cassette in question is the collection of answers given to some questions asked by the members of a group with deference to my opinions. Some of the questions broadcast in the program had to do with the favoritism shown to special interest groups and gangs in filling of many bureaucratic positions within the Justice Department. This was confessed to and defended at the party congress by one the Minister of Justices of that time. I simply offered some advice to those who lost their jobs or somehow hurt by such action. I said that in such fights for ideology such things would happen and that they should not be overly disturbed by such events. I have also advised those who were professionally hurt by mafia, gangs and ideological groups, not to disturb them, under the influence of their religious and nationalistic feelings.
Of course, these were presented in the montage - made from a number of sources collected from a number of archives over the years - in such a manner as to depict me planning to take over the state, and prosecute me in a kangaroo court. Was the same treatment made against those who misused their official power in manning many justice department positions which they themselves admitted? If not, the reason this time is not to show the alleged activity but some other ill intent. In fact, some members of the media have admitted this. Rumors are flying that some one has "pushed the button." Who are they? Why did they do it? In whose behalf did they push the "button?" Or, are they - whoever they are - are after gathering power to take over the state? Or some -by a new 'irtica' campaign, ever a soft spot in the regime, to reach their goal?
Here, I like to put my finger on an important point. In the general atmosphere in Turkey, attacks on Islam under the pretense of irtica and religious fundamentalism, lead every Muslim to outrage and extreme approaches. In order to prevent such tendencies, in some talks and speeches, depending on the
Justice Minister in question was Mehmet Mogultay (CHP) place and time, the truth may need to be presented from varying perspectives.
Throughout the history, the truth has always been uncovered. The truth behind this dastardly attack shall also come out; the innocent and the guilty will come out.
I would like to touch upon one more important point here: We do not judge a book by its cover alone. Therefore, one should be judged in view of all the information available on him, not by a word or two alone. One will have to consider the time and purpose and circumstances under which statements are made. To date, I have had a number of books published and recorded sermons and speeches available to anyone. I should be judged on the content of all these data. In many of the speeches I have emphasized that a true believer would not - and must not - have desire for a worldly gain or position in service to his nation, and that one can have no higher reward than winning the pleasure of God and the rank attained in the service of faith and Quran.
It would be no exaggeration if I claim to have repeated this hundreds of times. The believer should enter the hearts and should make people love God, in the name of spiritual life and love, should strengthen the faith of everyone he can and give hope to humanity. To serve some self interests, however, I am being executed without a trial. The heavily doctored video twists the truth 180 degrees and gives it exactly the opposite meaning than what is actually said. For example, on a TV channel I am quoted to say, "Whenever I have entertained thoughts as to if we only had -in this service of faith and Qur'an- our bureaucracy in Interior and Justice Departments I receive a (divine) slap in the face". What is meant here is that for a believer any thought and wish to be a man of faith and love is the basic principle, and nothing else. That is, such expectations have no place in the service of faith and Qur'an and that they should never be entertained. These warnings I have given were twisted just like those I had made before.
All this shows that the purpose of the other side here is quite different and in order to reach their goal the end justifies any means.
In any case, the matter has been brought up to the courts. I will respect any decision the court renders.
You are saying this, but in the video tapes shown you are talking about penetration the veins of the bureaucracy and justice departments and that an too early a move, as in Algeria, should be avoided. You are talking about moving into future. Does this not show that you have plans for the future?
First of all, my speech in the montage video in question should be watched in its original recording to its entirety, with the preceding and proceeding section of the shown parts in tact. Second of all, all my life, I have always put the state interests ahead of everything in the face of terrorism, anarchy, and unrest to the extent that I have frequently been accused of being overly pro-government and for the state. I have always worried about a civil unrest or a civil war in the country. Why? The rise of this nation and a powerful Turkish state and its stability is possible only with peace inside. But, there are potential dangers against this peace within. This country is predominantly Muslim. As much as our people is in the mainstream, they also possess the character to withstand any attack against its beliefs, religious and national values.
The abuse of our citizens by enemies of the nation in the Southeastern Anatolia, the amenability of Shia-Sunni differences to be used as a tool for confrontation - as was the case in the unrest in Gaziosman Pasa district - justify my fears.
In the subject video, I am talking about the necessity to avoid 'huruc' and actions like that, especially refrain from agitation.
The misinterpretations of my advice against all kinds of street activities, are made on purpose.
This land of ours has been stage to high-stakes games of foreign powers and their inner connections for centuries. In my considered opinion, the only way to guarantee the future of this country is to be cognizant of these realities and take the necessary measures to stop such intricacies before they get started. And, this will be possible through the efforts of those experienced in such games and will not be used as instruments. A judge and city administrator, and a governor will not allow these harmful games to be played on Turkish soil at the expense of the Turkish nation, as long as they are able to remain loyal to their national spirit and roots, and their kindred in the face of inordinately high outside pressure. Yes, those representing the nations proud institutions will be able to stop these games and, therefore, stop the mafia, the gangs, and special interest groups from harming this nation, only to the extent that their sense of responsibility makes them aware of their loyalty to their nation to stand against the abuses. The harmony between state and nation depends on this. Not all may agree with my views, but I do not believe there is one person who should or would object my sharing them with some of my concerned fellow citizens. Almost every member of this nation would want to see the governors, administrators, and the judges of this country to be of strongest moral fiber, God fearing, and believing that there is a hereafter where there shall be convened a "High Court" before which we shall all be accountable for our deed this world. There may well be, and there are, some powerful special interest groups that would not wish to see this happen. They will always seek people they can manipulate to their benefit. In fact, those now deeply disturbed by my speeches are such people. This is not to say that I have marked any particular target in my speeches. I dare anyone to find a plot against the regime and the state in my words. In the absence of an intent to plot against the state recommendations advice was intended to work for a better Turkey more confident and sure of her future.
People from all walks of life and varying intellect and interests visit me. Among them, some ask question on matters of religion; some even to just criticize me. Also among them, one can find the "radical" types as well as those with high political ambitions. You can imagine the difficulty of persuading this people to the correctness of your position by refusing to see and talk to them.
At the time these talks were given - in the subject videos - then the chief of staff was warning the nation of potential dangers far exceeding those in Algeria. At exactly such time that I recommended my audience that they should stay away from acts and activities that may lead the country to the situation resembling that in Algeria.
In some of the reports given to BCG you are claimed to talk about "ak seriat" (clean-pure Shariah). What does it mean?
I do not remember to use a term like "ak seriat." For that matter, there has been no such term in the literature of the history of Islam. If, again, one is trying to put forth this term as an evidence of wrong doing, I have many times commented on the meaning of the word "Shariah." Islam is a religion and Shariah is the sociological and scientific definition of it. For example, in Sufism, some saint may, according to his own perceptions or discoveries, speak on a subject. The degree of truth in their words is the subject of Shariah. Therefore, Shariah is the definition of religion of Islam in terms of social and scientific principles. The Qur'an says: "God has made the religion a Shariah for you." With this, there are those who understand an ideological system and a religious life style. On the other hand, there are enemies of Islam who use the term as being against the state and the regime. Those attacking me on this matter, represent the latter; and they are doing this knowingly. In my talks I have preferred to use more comprehensive terms like religion and Islam for Shariah. From the contents of one of my sermons where I mentioned those above and encouraged people to Islamic sciences, one paper headlined 'Fethullah Hoca talked about shariah before a group of university faculty' and reported me to authorities. Today unfortunately some writers and would be writers know very little and misinformed about Islam. When one adds ill-intent to this, many people are hurt. As I try to be cautious myself under such circumstances, also advising others to be cautious should not be an act of crime.
But, why do you talk about secrecy, moving quietly without hinting anything?
What could be more natural? There is a whole Turkish population out there very disturbed with the state of affairs, to say the least, and uncertain about the future. In a country where the voting age has been lowered to 18, college age young people and citizens from all walks of life, a whole cross section, and all demographic representatives with a chance to actively participate in the elective process and run for elective office, if I used whatever credibility I have for the people of this country; is it wrong? Turkey, for years, has been in turmoil and in a state of flux with social and economic woes. There are special interest groups that wish to - and do - take advantage of such upheaval. There are a good number of unscrupulous characters who cannot stand to see God fearing decent people getting in their way. Naturally, such people would not like to see positions of authority occupied by honest and patriotic citizens to get in their dastardly ways. Who has been harmed by a decent governor, judge, or a city administrator? Has there been a complaint against such administrators? What, then I ask, could be more natural than advising and warning concerned citizens against the like s of such human excrements? What have we gained so far and what shall we gain by simply looking the other way and deny the truth to ourselves while these traitors are fleecing the country?
The President said: "Such words are unbecoming of a respected religious leader?"
The president may have his own opinion on matters and is entitled to them. I have always had the utmost respect for him and considered him as God-sent to Turkish people. I have expressed these feelings publicly and in private. He has known me for what I stand for and my public activities for many years. Looking at the contents of the doctored video shown to the Nation the other night and potential pressures stemming from his official position as the president of the country he may have felt compelled to make that statement; it is quite understandable. Besides, he did not say that I should not have said such things, but merely suggested that a man of my status should not say it. This implies that he did not believe what he saw and heard on the TV. As a man of religion, I have never considered myself getting involved in politics or be a part of a special interest group to infiltrate the government. Such thing shall always be out of the question. On the other hand, I would not expect a religious leader to be attacked viciously and mercilessly for giving advice on religious matters of matters of National importance. It is the right and the duty of every Turkish citizen. If punishing such behavior were the norm why then Nation's Imams are not arrested and tried for treason for reading the written sermons given to them by the Agency for Religious Affairs, an entity of the elected government. Our president is - and prime minister was - one of the most criticized officials tolerating (religious extremism)? He is more keenly aware than anyone what's going on and lies behind such smear tactics. No matter what he's said or he says, to me he is the most respected statesman in the region, to day.
Retired General Kemal Yavuz claims that your operations are supported by the KGB and the United States. Is there any substance this claim?
I have, in the past, more than one occasion answered such groundless, ludicrous, and unfounded allegations. The responses and answers I have given to such outlandish remarks and claims have even been compiles in a book titled "Unwavering Mentality of Slanders" Talk is cheap! If he has an iota of proof to support his claim I dare him to come forward with it. Otherwise, as a man who served his nation for years in the most honored institution in the country, he will be put in the category of common slanderers. Look at this fantastic claim! On the one hand I am working to establish an Islamic state modeled after that of Iran and, on the other hand, I am being supported by the KGB and the U.S. Can you possibly accept such incongruity? The United States is looking with favor to a middle of the road Islam and it would help me set up a government based on the "Shariah." What an imagination; what an outrageous claim. What is the nations impeccably capable intelligence agency doing while the KGB, the U.S., and I are going about this business? Does the good general have any evidence to support this fantastic claim? Like all other groundless claims and rhetoric, his too is designed to smear my reputation as a respected community figure. Such groundless and fantastically outrageous accusations are slanders directed to my person to damage my credibility before the Turkish people.
What do you mean by terms such as "our camp and the other camp?"
These words did not originate with me. They are the words used by others and forced into my vocabulary by necessity. Events of the years have divided this nation into many camps. This is a fact. Leninists, Marxists, narcotics gangs, weapons smugglers, and a number of underground organizations are but just a few. Common to all these gangs is to harm the nation in order to advance their self-serving illegitimate and illegal interests. Against all these, however, there are also noble sons of this nation.
All my life, in accordance with my Islamic upbringing and Islamic values, I have never taken a position against a person. I have spoken against and idea or an ideology and its attributes, but not the person adopting or representing that ideology. I have never been against the unbeliever but the unbelief itself. I have not been against a person identifying himself as communist but the communism itself. One should show compassion to such people. Our Prophet (PBUH), admonishes us, whether he be the villain or the victim, to help out fellow man. When asked: "how shall we help the villain?" By helping him change his villainous ways, he replied. Therefore, here it is not the person that we must stand up against but the principle or the ideology we do not subscribed to. Such behavior and attitudes lead to not disagreements but on the contrary to friendly persuasion and, therefore, to unity of purpose. I have always been against the pronouncement of destructive expressions such as " our camp, the opposite camp." Had it been otherwise, this would show in the behavior of those who respect and subscribe to my ideas. To interpret the meaning of a term used by a person should be made in light of his views and ideals he has presented over a long period of time. Only then ca one accurately interpret this person.
What do you mean by "Birth Pains?"
I have, for years, believe that Turkey has been and should be moving toward a happy future. I wish a Turkish Nation and a Turkish State deserving of its potential to claim its position among the great nations and great states of the world. I live with the yearning of A Turkey that would be the guarantor of peace in the world. I wish a Turkey, at peace with its neighbors, but a Turkey which does not make any concessions from its pride when seeking peace. I wish a Turkey economical self sufficient; one that is in a position to offer economic help rather than beg. I wish a Turkey where there is no polarization into rival camps, no weapons smuggling gangs, narcotics dealers, and other parasitic entities leaching my people. I wish a Turkey where government elected "by the people for the people" work in harmony to serve those electing it. I wish a Turkey with a solution to its educational woes, where the hearts and minds are filled with faith and knowledge. But, at this time, there are some serious obstacles in front of this nation. For this reason, the job that awaits the citizens of this great country is a formidable one, but it is not out of reach; nothing is out of reach. My advice and encouragements are directed toward such end. This is what I mean by "Birth Pains."
Wouldn't the expressions you employ, such as "In the face of unfavorable power balance, should resort to finesse," show that you are implementing certain plans in moving toward a target?
I have all along been trying to emphasize a fact here. For starters, I have never had an earthly or a political ambition. When speaking about the missions and the functions of the prophets, the Qur'an, in brief, describes these them as teaching God to humanity and guiding the man to straight path. Qur'an does not make mention of any political aspiration or worldly gains. Prophets mentioned in the Qur'an addressed their nations the mission they were charged with and they carried out their task to perfection as commanded by God. Some believed them, some did not, and God passed His judgment on the people. There have been groups of people who were adamant in their denial of God's messengers and tried also to dissuade those who believed. This is an historical fact. In recent times we have witnessed this fact in Communist regimes and also in countries like ours. Some fanatic atheistic groups have demonstrated an astonishing hatred toward the Qur'an and Islam. This hatred has not only been directed toward Islam but also toward many other values and institutions of the society. I believe, someday the identity of these groups shall come to he open and everyone will know who they are. These groups have the might, today, to influence many who do not see eye to eye with them. For years some of them have been known for their opposition to Kemalism and the armed forces. Though numbers are lees than one in on thousand, they have at times flexed - and still do - their muscle on certain issues more than established major political parties. Where does their power come from; if not from the people? For whom and for what purpose do they use this power? Who claims them to be more patriotic than other citizens of this country? All these questions and some like these wait to be answered before I am asked what I meant by "balance of powers."
I am defending the values of this country. Only with these values, I believe Turkey can move forward to a bright future. I believe, the future confrontations will be settled by convincing argument in dialogue, not with brute force. Therefore, we will have to address the logic and common sense if we are to convince people of the correctness of our ways.
"I am trying to conquer every side" you declare. What exactly do you mean by that?
If you believe in a value, the correctness of an idea, and the utility of something in the society, you would want to share that with others. Someone I know and I respect, says "if they told me a young atheist has died, it is worth tearing my heart out in the face of such news." I believe in the hereafter. Lack of faith today is probably the most serious problem in the world. Atheism is a dangerous disease. As a believer, My heart would not accept anyone to be punished to eternity. Some may argue that we should have freedom to not believe as we are free to believe. That is normal. In fact, the Qur'an says there is no compulsion in religion. Man is civilized with his logic and analytical abilities. Use of brute force is the method of the unlettered and the intellectually bankrupt. What's important is to communicate, to deliver the message. I wish for everyone to open his eyes to presence of God and the hereafter, in order to live in peace and harmony on earth and find heaven in the hereafter. Some people either misunderstood me or misinterpret on purpose as desiring to conquer the world with armies. I can only laugh at such claims. Yes, I am crazy about one thing. And that is: Everyone should experience the taste of faith in God, its effects in the soul of man. Everyone should get to know God; he should not force his soul to suffer the fire of Hell even in this life. This feeling should carry on the whole universe.
You speak of "The light houses" What are they? Why do you refer to them as "unknown?"
I used the term in a publication. The holy books talk about light. It also comes from the Qur'an. The term "mechul" is used in the Qur'an meaning indefinite, taht is doses not carry the definite article "al-" corresponding to "the" in English. By 'mechul', indefinite is meant. Some people moving from Southeast Asia hosted in Muslim homes were so impressed by these hoses that they asked if their homes would also be these Light houses if they became Muslim. So, It dawned on me to call the houses where young people stayed as "light houses." The word "light =isik" is frequently encountered in names of institutions, such as schools, and business names, like Isik Lisesi, Isik Mobilya. It never occurred to that this may disturb some people.
Do you see any significant differences between the pre-1995 Fethullah Gulen - when you first appeared in public with the message of dialog and tolerance - and post-1995 Fethullah Gulen?
Change in thinking patterns is quite normal. One's change in light of the fact showing him to be wrong is even commendable. One should be able to accept the truth when he is shown to be wrong; and once changed he should not be accountable for his past values and behavior. This is the rule of Islam. Islam suprceed what was in the past. When someone accepts Islam his sins committed prior to his acceptance of Islam are forgiven.
It is true that I started my call for tolerance and dialogue in 1995. I made mention of tolerance and dialogue in my pre-1995 writings and speeches. They have been compiled in a book. I am a straight person, a Muslim. I try to be a good Muslim. Like everyone else, I too may change my views, thoughts, and behavior on certain matters. The Qur'an speaks even of the 'progress' of religion. Time and circumstances play an important role in the interpretation of religion. One cannot object when time gives its judgment on an issue. In the past, I may have - under the effects of particular conditions of the times - used strong language in expressing some of my views. I ask God for His forgiveness for any wrong that I may have committed. I have never hesitated to change when I saw myself wrong and have always accepted the truth when corrected by others.
You call Hitler and Napoleon genius, as you speak of Ataturk?
As normal intelligence has its functions, so too genius has functions special to it. Sometimes the genius may reach such extreme levels that may returned as fanatic or simply mad. Figures like Hitler and Mussolini belong to the latter. Ataturk on the other hand did not, like Hitler and Mussolini, lead a strong nation to its ruins but rather established a liable state and a strong nation out of the ruins of an empire. Calling both Ataturk and some others geniuses does not put them in the same category.
The language of article 24 of the constitution, you suggest, tantamounts to putting your head under the guillotine. Why?
I do not even recall making a statement like that. For that matter, I don't even remember what Article 24 comprises. It may possibly have been touched upon tangentially. In an unrelated discussion, the language of Article 8, the enactment of which was attempted, may have tightened the nuse around the necks of religious citizens. Because the language was vague, the passage of Article 163 prompted a congressman to comment that recitation of 'suratul Fatiha' may be interpreted as crime by the language of the article. The language of Article 8 was argued by some to be similar to that of Article 163.
Retired General Kemal Yavuz suggested that you come from a Kurdish background?
Look at this irony. While some accuse me of being a Turkish nationalist at the extreme, another makes mention of my 'Kurdish heritage'. Does faith recognize any choice for us what family, color, race, physique, and parentage I wish to come from. Would it have been a crime had I come from a Kurdish background? I am even shocked that someone should bring up this question. But, just to respond to this outrageous crime, I come from a true blue Turkish blood. Many generations back there was a Kurt (=Wolf) Ismail Pasha among my forefathers. Many have over the years read this as Kürt (=Kurd) on purpose I suspect. Out of this they conclude that I have Kurdish blood.
It's claimed that you secretly communicated with Abdullah Öcalan and that you carried messages for him?
Never!..No one abhores terrorism more than I. I may have different ideas on stopping terrorism; that's a different matter. I do not have the brute physical force at my disposal against terror. I try to help bring peace through education and dialogue. In fact it is said that the role of Ferhat High School in Van province against terrorism has been a very positive one. This was published by Yeni Yuzyil (newspaper). The question of my alleged contacts -or for that matter, contacts by any one else- should be totally investigated, before such unfounded slandering statements are made about anyone. This way, the real story about PKK can come out in the open. I strongly believe that some day the real story shall indeed come out and many faces will be red.
Few people from Southeastern Turkey asked me about the possibility of PKK attacks on schools there. And , if they did, what preventive measures could be taken? As an answer I tell them that children are a good number of prominent citizens in the area attend those schools and that PKK would not risk deteriorating relations with them by attacking the schools. Like many of my statements, these two are tailored in a way to make them sound that messages passed on to Ocalan.
Western Intelligence Group (BÇG) reports and alleged organizational activities bring about claims of your plans against the armed forces and efforts to take it over? Can you elaborate on this?
I answered such questions many times in the past. I have never been against the armed forces at any time in any way in my whole life. I have expressed my goodwill even to those following me closely simply because they happen to be members of the armed forces, nation's most respected institution.
I cannot imagine the armed forces being against any activity designed for the good of the country. But some people speak in behalf of armed forces without authorization. Dogu Perinçek, for example, has on many occasions claimed to speak in behalf of the armed forces; and many others like him. Never mind taking over the armed forces, many times I have been worried sick with the possibility of divisions within the army ranks as was the case during the Balkan War.
Moreover the armed forces is frequently agitated. In May 27 1960, such a provocation was the subject of the day. Those claiming credit for 27 May coup admitted that they realized the coup reading magazines like the Akis. After the coup thousands of officers were retired. I was serving in the army during Talat Aydemir's coup attempt. In spite of my youth at that time, I was worried that a crack may develop in the army. Juntas within the army ranks formed during 9 March 1971 coup attempts against the army. For someone who has always looked at the armed forces as the primary guarantors of the safety and future of this country, there cannot be more worrisome events than these. Attempts are made to make the armed forces look as if it's against the religion, beliefs, and essential values of the people of this nation. I have opined against such attempts. To attempt to show that this institution (armed forces) is not and cannot be against the religion would be a disrespect to that institution in itself.
The claims of plans and activities are all fabrications. Such rumors were also around last year; but did not draw any serious attention. In those reports and claims Al Baraka (Bank) was related to me; such nonsense. As America's imam, the name of Abdullah Aymar is mentioned. I know of no such person. Only there's an Abdullah Aymaz working at Zaman newspaper . For a while he was Zaman's representative in the US. Also mention is made of Sabri Ulker. As I remember, Sabri Ulker is an old man whom I have not seen in recent years. Haci Kemal has been dead for quite some time. In the report of BÇG there are claims very difficult to believe if not impossible: Students studying in schoools abroad will take over the regimes in those countries and will support Islamic state to be established in Turkey. There're schools in places like Moscow, South Africa and Denmark. These countries are much more sensitive to secularism than Turkey. They all have religions different from Islam not to mention the fact that these schools have been producing graduates for some time and we do not know of anyone among them who has converted to Islam. Instead of fabricating such outrageous scenarios and paying millions of dollars to foreign lobbies to help us improve our foreign relations, wouldn't it be more reasonable and logical to look at these schools as goodwill ambassadors that can win friends for us abroad.
Media is the same comedy. Forty years ago they managed to hang a prime minister with the claims that he sent students to their death in meat grinders. Now the same people fabricated a revenge army of 3000 students under my command. God have mercy on their souls.
In the report prepared by 'Telekulak' gang (eavesdroppers) published in Star newspaper and the video shown on ATV there started a media lynching against Fethullah Gulen that shows stark similarities to the campaing of 1960 against the Democratic Party which ended in hanging of the prime minister and two of his cabinet officers with the only difference that this time it was the civilian entity (media) initiating the event. Between these two events, the setting up of the news items and the style of the language in the newspaper columns look like the carbon copies of those we saw 40 years ago in the 60 coup. Another point of difference between the two is that the former was carried out at an extraordinary time that developed after a coup while the current event is in the form of a bad news bearer talking of the intending darkness facing the country. The rumors that "the federal prosecutor will ask for death sentence, hanging by the neck" published by Sabah draw significant parallel with the headlines in Aksam newspaper of 40 years ago which said: "According to Turkish Criminal Code the anticipated sentence is hanging by the neck till dead." June 10 1999 issue of Sabah, without a hint as to any basis, published the sentence: "It's expected that the defendants will be tried according to section 1 of article 146," and headlines in June 20 1999 issue (again Sabah) "...prosecutor will ask for death sentence for Fethullah Gulen." Few days after these headlines, the federal prosecutor denied that he would bring the case against me on Article 146, but he may ask for a jail term of 1 to 3 years.
Another point in common to current and 60 events is that both have made outrageous and outlandish claims one can only call as ludicrous.
Forty years ago, led by Milliyet, the influential papers of the time, accused the ruling party (conservative DP) of killing many students and chopping them in meat grinders. We total disregard for human ethics and sensibilities, without an iota of evidence, they raised the emotions of the public and eventually led to hanging of the prime minister. Here's the headline from June 2, 1960 Milliyet: "Fresh corpses found in ice depots...Most of the corpses to the students killed during demonstrations..." No names, no pictures, not an iota of evidence; circumstantial or otherwise. This is strikingly similar to yesterday's headlines in Sabah: 'Death squads of Fethullah: According to report presented to MGK the ultimate aim of Fethullah Gulen is Islamic revolution; with this goal in mind, he is planning to train a death commando unit of 3000 strong..." Just like 40 years ago. No names, no pictures, not an ounce of evidence; just ludicrous claims. Here's another headline from Aksam newspaper: "Corpses have been ground to dust in meat grinders." Again, there's not a shred of evidence offered. And, yesterday's Takvim newspaper: "Another shocking report on Gulen: 3000 strong death squad." The picture is the same as 40 years ago.
Reha Muhtar, Show TV, 06.22.1999
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