Remarks regarding Gülen’s article in Washington Post

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Prepared by Zeynep Ekmekci, Gülener Kırnalı and Melissa Clissold

Hello, have a good day. Today we carried out a broadcast via Skype at Medyascope. However, I would like to broadcast again since there was a serious problem with Skype. The title of the publication was “Written by Fethullah Gülen in Washington Post today”. I want to say here: I am in Brussels, Belgium. When I went out in the morning, two separate reports in Washington Post cautioned me. Someone was informed that Donald Trump had shared with him the most secret information about ISIS in a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov, the Russian Ambassador in the White House. This is very serious news, a very big scandal. Although Trump announced later, on Twitter, that it was only natural, this is news that is more than enough to blend America and the world in some way.

The timing of Gülen’s writing

In the same Washington Post, in the article section of the page called ‘op-ed’, we saw an article written by Fethullah Gülen. Fethullah Gülen, in his article, reiterates his harsh criticism towards Tayyip Erdoğan and Tayyip Erdoğan’s regime this summer. Of course, the important point here is that this article was published in Washington Post right when Tayyip Erdoğan was meeting with Donald Trump. We previously saw Fethullah Gülen had  written for  the New York Times. In his article in the New York Times during the post-coup period, he rejected the allegations regarding his direct involvement in the coup. And I had a broadcast about this, at that time.

Now, what’s the importance of this article being published in The Washington Post? There are many aspects to look at. First, of course, one of America’s most prominent newspapers – in my opinion, The Washington Post is a much more important newspaper than The New York Times , Los Angeles Times or any other. I lived in Washington for two and a half years and it was the newspaper that I first started my day with, the newspaper that came to my door, a newspaper I love. Politically, it is the number one newspaper in America. First, it is crucial that The Washington Post agreed to publish such an article on a day that coincides Tayyip Erdoğan’s visit.

As a matter of course, we know that before the 15th  July, but mainly after July 15th in Ankara, Tayyip Erdoğan’s administration was carrying out very serious lobbying activities regarding Fethullah Gülen. Hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars – it is not even necessary to say that these are our taxes – were spent for Gülen’s diagnosis, to show the events that Fethullah Gülen was carrying out. But the fact that this article has been published in the Washington Post today shows that all this money has been wasted. Apparently, they could not prevent this from happening. This is a fundamental problem.

The facts of Turkey + Gülen’s lies

I can say this after reading the article: The article consists of the realities of Turkey and the lies of Fethullah Gülen. So, Fethullah Gülen tells the truth regarding Turkey. Especially after the 15th  July, step by step democracy, the rule of law and the removal of human rights in Turkey are slowly starting to dissappear; these are true. But he is explaining these things as if he has no responsibility over them whatsoever. Of course, the main responsibility regarding such things, belongs to the rulers of the state and therefore Tayyip Erdoğan. However, we should not forget this: The initial role as to why Turkey has come to this point belongs to Fethullah Gülen and his community, as well as his conspiracies and finally the 15th Julycoup attempt. We should see it like this.

It is therefore apparent that, in this article, truth and lies coincide. Fethullah Gülen uses the truths of Turkey as if he has had no responsibility in this matter to reveal himself and to scold Tayyip Erdoğan, his greatest enemy. For example, there are attributions to Kurds and Alevis in this article. These are things we know very well that attract Western public opinion. But we still know that Fethullah Gülen and his community have no great sensitivity to these issues. We can also see this in his group’s attempts to sabotage peace and the Oslo process which was trying to solve the ‘Kurdish question’ through peaceful means. He writes as if he believes in these things, which he actually does not believe in very much. That’s one side of the story.

Pluralist education

Another aspect that I think is very important, what I consider very important from my point of view. Perhaps something that seems to be at least as important as writing. At the end of the article, Fethullah Gülen says that a pluralistic and libertarian education system is needed for Turkey to recover itself – which is true. But it is wrong that Fethullah Gülen says it. Because the Fethullah Gülen movement has been known since its beginning, especially in its early years, as a movement that closed its door to other places.

I would like to give you an example I have experienced regarding this: Before the Ergenekon investigations I was sitting in the open air on the ferry while going to Karaköy in Istanbul or Kadıköy from Eminönü on the ferry. When a young child came to me, he introduced himself and told me that he owes me a thank-you The story was as follows: while he was studying at Istanbul University Faculty of Law, he stayed in “light houses”; in a place near the school, in the houses of the congregation. It is forbidden to read books other than Fethullah Gülen and the books he permitsin the houses of the community. He was reading my first book, ‘Ayet and Slogan’, which was very popular in those days. A congregation brother came and said, “You cannot read this, you cannot read it.” Later, when they saw the book again after a while, they threw this child out of the “light house”.

The child also told me regarding this, and I am quoting him, that ‘he got rid of them’ and that he is thankful to me. Apparently, He became a lawyer. Ali Bulaç is one of the first to tell me that Fethullah Gülen does not allow other books, other publications. Ali Bulaç himself is unfortunately a long time in prisonbecause he writes in the publishing organs of the Gulen community and he is tried for aggravated life. Ali Bulaç said this because he knew that his books were, I am talking about the middle 80s, –  in the ‘banned list’ of the so-called “light houses”.

Content according to the listener

This is the greatest feature of the Fethullah Gülen movement, he says what they want the people to hear. When he writes in the Washington Post, he talks about democracy, pluralism, pluralistic education, libertarian education, the Alevis, the Kurds. Other times he talks about other things.

For example, we know that when the ‘Cemaat’ was powerful, one man, Aliyev was praised in the broadcasting channels in Azerbaijan and in the television channels. So what matters to them is that they do not have a problem in the places where they are. Now here is the question: what is the meaning of the community writing the Washington Post? There are many meanings. One sense; the most important issue of the Cemaat is to stay and especially to be able to maintain Fethullah Gülen’s presence in America. In this sense, the publication of such a paper in the Washington Post on the day that Tayyip Erdoğan came fully shows that the community is successful in this matter. Another thing is that the congregation can still hurt the lives of its opponents, their enemies. Tayyip Erdoğan’s life hurts, but the community is not only dealing with Tayyip Erdoğan and AKP.

For example, an incident that has recently begun to happen again: after a broadcast I made regarding the imprisoned journalists from the Cemaat trials, I have had to deal with very serious disinformation, manipulation, scandals and false news created by the people of the Cemaat abroad. I cannot say that I have been influenced too much, but of course it is annoying. When we look at this fact, Fethullah Gülen’s writings in Washington Post are also a disinformation and manipulation in that sense. When creatingdisinformation, they are taking the realities of the country as the point of departure. But, even when taking the realities of the country as the point of departure, I do not believe that Fethullah Gülen’s vision of Turkey is that of a democratic and a pluralistic one.

Lobbying disaster

Now in Turkey, the state is trying to explain Fethullah Gülen for a long time to the ‘West’. There is a new way to do that. But until this time, since the 15th of  July, the state has yet to prove that that this community is behind the coup. If it had been able to prove it, the Washington Post would not write such a post, it is clear. It is still the prominent idea of the West that Gulen community did not play a role in this case, even if it did, it is only of minor importance. They believe that what Erdogan did after the coup is more important. And the government could not overcome this.

As a journalist, from the beginning, I am a person who believes that Fethullah Gülen himself and his community is behind this coup. But I am journalist, not a judge, a prosecutor, or a police officer. It’s not my job to find evidence. I believe that, as a result of years of accumulation, following this movement, this movement could have attempted such a thing. But the job of the state is to show its documents, evidence, etc. They do not show them. Why cannot they show it? A very simple example: a journalist working for daily Cumhuriyet – a friend I have know for several years – has very recently been detained for FETO propaganda, for a news headline that remained online only for a minute or so.

We are living in a country where Ahmet Şık and Kadri Gursel, other daily Cumhuriyet columnists, executives, Ali Bulaç, Ahmet Turan Alkan, Şahin Alpay, Mehmet Altan, Ahmet Altan are imprisoned. But FETÖ himself, that is, Fethullah Gülen himself, can write articles in the most respected newspapers in the world.  In other words, the state’s power is only enough for those who have nothing but their pens and what they write and those who did not flee their own country. It is only enough to exaggerate what they write, bring them in, victimise them and judge them with very serious charges. On the other hand, Fethullah Gülen and his followers can live the way they want to live.

Having said these, I am passing my wishes to Oğuz Güven again. Oğuz Guven is a journalist who has not committed a crime. I am sure that the consciences of those who are directly or indirectly responsible for the imprisonment of Oğuz Güven will not be in peace.

Tomorrow, all our children and grandchildren – and Oğuz also has a grandchild and most of his current photos in the media is with his grandchildren – will be proud of their parents and grandparents. Some people’s grandchildren, on the other hand, will avoid talking about their parents in shame.

Yes, I’d like to state again that I am sorry for the problems with the last broadcast we made cause of the poor internet connection. I will cancel it and replace it with this. That’s all I have to say from Brussels. Good day to you all.

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