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Muslim cleric Gülen recognizes Armenian genocide: letter

The letter shows that the Muslim cleric, who lives in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania, recognizes the 1915-1916 killings as genocide

Yeni Şafak, April 11, 2015

A letter, penned by U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gülen nearly 50 years ago, has revealed the Muslim cleric recognizes the 1915-1916 killings as genocide; a claim Armenia defends.

“…I can not continue without condemning the genocide perpetrated against Armenians in 1915. I commemorate the victims of Genocide with a deep respect,” said Gülen in the letter written to Archbishop Shinork Kalusyan, the former Armenian Patriarch of Istanbul on May 6,1965.

“I condemn with indignation and abhorrence the massacre of children of your great Prophet Jesus Christ by some ignorant people who think they are Muslim.”

Gülen was serving as a preacher in Kırklareli when he penned these lines to Kalusyan.

“Inter-faith dialogue” dates back to 1960s

His expressions in the letter have indicated that Gülen sowed seeds of his project to promote inter-faith dialogue in the 1960s.

“All nations and people are actually brothers and sisters because the grandmother of all of us is Eve and the grandfather is Adam. Man is mortal. Living as brothers is a need,” he said.

“All the monotheistic religions recommend people to be kind and forgiving. The principles of Judaism and Christianity are pretty similar. Prophet Abraham is the grandfather for all the great people that we call Prophets, who established monotheistic religions,” he said.

“It is actually immodest that people are taking a hostile stance to each other by mentioning differences in religion and nationality,” he explained.

“Your being in this position as a representative of Jesus who always orders people to be kind and tolerance is a great honor for me and my Muslim realm.”

“Your being in this position of always having tolerance for people and having orders others to perform favors as being a representative of Jesus is an honor for me and my Muslim realm.”

During World War I, the Ottoman rule deported hundreds of thousands of Armenians in Anatolia to present-day Syria in 1915-16. As a result, an unknown number of people were killed in civil strife or died from starvation.

Armenians living in the homeland and in the Diaspora call this event a “genocide”, whereas Turkey denies the deaths constituted genocide, saying those killed were victims of civil war and unrest.

The 1915 events remain a highly sensitive issue in the history of Turkey and Armenia.

In a historic move in 2014, President Erdoğan, who was serving as prime minister, extended Turkey’s condolences to the grandchildren of Armenians who had lost their lives in 1915.

Although his statement was widely welcomed by Europe and Armenians living in Turkey, Yerevan has remained unsatisfied.

Blamed as Coup Mastermind? Fethullah Gulen

ISTANBUL — Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, says that a mild-mannered Muslim cleric living in self-imposed exile in rural Pennsylvania was pulling the strings of a coup attempt last week that almost succeeded in taking over the state, and killing Mr. Erdogan himself.

Now, Mr. Erdogan says that many thousands of Turkish citizens — soldiers, policemen, bureaucrats, teachers, judges, lawyers and many more professions — are all part of the cleric’s movement and must be punished.

Tens of thousands of people have already been arrested or suspended from their jobs in the four days since the coup failed, after a night of violence that plunged the country into chaos.

Mr. Erdogan and the cleric, Fethullah Gulen, have been adversaries in recent years, and Turkey has said that Mr. Gulen must be extradited by the United States. Now, though, Mr. Erdogan appears determined to get him back, a matter that threatens to aggravate relations between the two NATO allies.

But who is Mr. Gulen? And is it possible he is behind such a vast conspiracy?

James F. Jeffrey, a former American ambassador to Turkey now at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, called the organization a “cultlike” movement, and said no one really had solid information about its size and aims.

But many experts on Turkey, Mr. Jeffrey included, say the followers of Mr. Gulen have sought to gain power within Turkey by infiltrating state institutions, most successfully the judiciary and the police.

“They are a state within a state,” he said. “They have infiltrated many places.”

In the past, Mr. Gulen has been embraced by American officials as a moderate Islamic leader: someone who promotes interfaith dialogue, leads a worldwide network of charities and secular schools, favors good relations with Israel and opposes harder-line Islamist movements like the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. (He is the Turkish Moslem Brotherhood leader)

In Turkey, his supporters have long filled the ranks of the police, judiciary and, to a lesser extent, the military, something Mr. Gulen has encouraged in speeches.

Having fled the country in 1999 as Turkey’s old secular elite charged him with trying to overthrow the state, he landed in the United States, where a former C.I.A. official helped him get a green card.

The darker suspicions of his movement have emerged as a central plotline in the aftermath of the failed military coup in Turkey, with Mr. Erdogan accusing him of being the mastermind of the conspiracy.

Turkish officials on Tuesday, including Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, raised the pressure on the United States to hand over Mr. Gulen, promising to send dossiers of evidence of his role in the plot.

The White House said on Tuesday that it received an electronic file from Turkey on the matter, though it was unclear that it was a formal extradition request.

“The Department of Justice and the Department of State will review those materials consistent with the requirements of the extradition treaty between the United States and Turkey that’s been on the books for more than 30 years now,” Josh Earnest, the White House spokesman, said.

On Tuesday, Mr. Erdogan and Mr. Obama spoke by telephone, with Mr. Obama offering help to investigate the coup, but giving no indication in a statement by the White House of a willingness to promptly send Mr. Gulen back.

Mr. Yildirim said Turkey was intent on destroying the Gulen movement “by its roots.” And the government has moved quickly, raising concerns it is more interested in silencing all opposition than rooting out those behind the coup.

Nearly 35,000 members of the military, police and judiciary have either been arrested or dismissed.

On Tuesday, the government suspended more than 15,000 members of the Education Ministry, forced more than 1,500 university deans to resign and revoked the licenses of 21,000 private schoolteachers.

All of them, officials said, are suspected of having some link to Mr. Gulen.

The Turkish military, in a statement, blamed the “Fethullah Terrorist Organization” for the coup plot, and said the plotters had held at gunpoint the military’s chief of staff, demanding that he sign a document supporting the coup, which he refused to do.

nytimes.com|By Tim Arango and Ben Hubbard

Mr. Gulen, a mystic preacher of the Sufi branch of Islam who lives in a secluded compound in the Poconos, in Pennsylvania, has become a central point of tension between the United States and Turkey.

One Turkish official said he believed the United States played a role in the coup, an accusation Secretary of State John Kerry dismissed on Sunday as “irresponsible.” Still, in a front-page column on Tuesday, the editor in chief of a pro-government newspaper wrote, “The U.S. Tried to Assassinate Erdogan!”

At the very least, the prospect of a contentious extradition process is likely to complicate relations between the allies at a time when the United States is relying on Turkey as a crucial partner in the fight against the Islamic State.

Referring to the United States, Mr. Yildirim said, “we would be disappointed if our friends told us to present proof even though members of the assassin organization are trying to destroy an elected government under the directions of that person.” He added, “At this stage there could even be a questioning of our friendship.”

Mr. Kerry has said Turkey, as part of the extradition process, must provide evidence that withstands scrutiny in an American court — something analysts say Turkey does not have.

On Tuesday, Mr. Gulen again denied any involvement. “Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan today once again demonstrated he will go to any length necessary to solidify his power and persecute his critics,” Mr. Gulen said in a statement. “It is ridiculous, irresponsible and false to suggest I had anything to do with the horrific failed coup. I urge the U.S. government to reject any effort to abuse the extradition process to carry out political vendettas.”

Turkish officials may be certain about Mr. Gulen’s actions and motives, but the nature of his movement has long confounded analysts and diplomats in Turkey, partly because the organization is opaque and individuals do not openly declare allegiance to it.

Mr. Jeffrey said it would have been hard for Gulen followers, as Islamists, to infiltrate the armed forces, which have been a stronghold of secularism in Turkey.

In diplomatic cable written in 2009, and made public by WikiLeaks, Mr. Jeffrey detailed how Mr. Gulen came to exile in the United States.

He left Turkey in 1999 after being charged with plotting to overthrow the state. The charges, Mr. Jeffrey wrote, were based on a sermon Mr. Gulen had given in which he said, “our friends, who have positions in legislative and administrative bodies, should learn its details and be vigilant all the time so they can transform it and be more fruitful on behalf of Islam in order to create a nationwide restoration.”

Mr. Gulen was later acquitted, in absentia, on all charges.

Jenny White, a professor at the Stockholm University Institute for Turkish Studies who has studied the Gulen movement, said it is centered on a worldwide network of secular schools. The goal, she said, is to create a “golden generation of young people who are educated in science, but have Muslim ethics.”

The group is socially conservative, but religious texts do not play a large role for the movement. While women are active in the movement, they are not included in decision making.

Mr. Erdogan and Mr. Gulen were once Islamist allies, at war with Turkey’s old secular elite.

After Mr. Erdogan’s Islamist Justice and Development Party came to power more than a decade ago, they teamed up to tame the military, which overthrew four elected governments last century.

A series of sensational trials, which were overseen by Gulen-affiliated judges and prosecutors and were later determined to have relied, in part, on fabricated evidence, sent hundreds of officers to prison and seemed to have secured civilian control over the military.

But three years ago, the two men had a bitter falling out as Mr. Gulen opposed the leader’s increasingly autocratic tendencies. Mr. Erdogan accused Mr. Gulen of orchestrating a corruption inquiry of top officials close to Mr. Erdogan, using the same prosecutors who had targeted the military.

Ever since, they have been enemies, and this week the government accelerated its efforts to purge the state of anyone it believes is affiliated with Mr. Gulen, or directly involved in the coup.

Ibrahim Kalin, Mr. Erdogan’s spokesman, said on Tuesday that the United States should turn him over to Turkey.

“Why hold him?” he said. “Send him to Turkey to let him go through the judicial process here and if he can prove that he is not guilty, then he can go back.”

Turks have long suspected that Mr. Gulen was an American agent, and inflaming the conspiracy theories is the fact that Graham E. Fuller, a former C.I.A. official who was once stationed in Istanbul, wrote a letter to support Mr. Gulen’s application for a green card.

Mr. Fuller, in an interview with The New York Times in 2014, said he did so on his own, not on behalf of the American government. (Funny)

In the letter, he said he wrote, to the effect, “of all the movements I’ve studied, this one is probably least likely to be a security threat.”

Anti-Zionist facade? Is Turkey’s PM ERDOGAN JEWISH?

Allegedly, Erdogan and his wife are crypto-Jews, and secretly working for the New World Order.
That a person has Jewish roots should not the problem, where is the problem?
That this person feels intimidated to collaborate with apartheid Israel and adhere to the Zionist ideology, on the ground that he has a few drops of “Jewish blood” is racism, pure and simple.
Like this French humorist Mbala Mbala who was unti-racism and anti-apartheid and then “discovered” that one of his parents or a distant relative is an Ethiopian “Falashi Jew” and decided to become an Israeli agent for the last 12 years.
Why has Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, helped the USA and Israel in their attacks on Syria and North Africa?Why do ‘anti-Americans’ in Turkey hate Erdogan’s AKP political party? .
 Noor al Haqiqa posted in  on Nov. 11, 2011

Is TURKEY’S ERDOGAN JEWISH?

Erdogan with his Jewish classmate Rafael Sadi. They studied economics together.
According to Ergün Poyraz, in his book “The Children of Moses“:

1. Erdogan has spoken to the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Committee. The American Jewish Congress gave Erdogan a ‘profiles of courage award’.

2. The Erdogan family has Jewish roots.

Erdogan and friends.

Necmettin Erbakan, a former Prime Minister of Turkey, claims that Erdogan’s tough line on Israel is a façade to deceive the Turkish public.
Felicity Party leader Necmettin Erbakan. December 6, 2010 /ABDULLAH BOZKURT
Erbakan says:“Why on earth did Erdogan’s AK Party give a ‘go ahead’ to the membership of Israel in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and not block membership?“Why did the Turkish government consent to multi-billion dollars worth of defense contracts with Israeli firms?“Erdogan says ‘one-minute’ to Peres during Davos but conducts business as usual with the Jewish state. This is hypocrisy.”

Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan (Left) attends a CIA-Al-Qaeda meeting in Libya.

Reportedly, the CIA-Mossad wants its agents and assets to run each of the Moslem countries.
Reportedly, Turkey is the model.
Gulen and friend.
Fethullah Gulen is the founder of the Fethullah or Gulen movement, which some suspect is linked to the CIA.
On 6 August 2011, The Economist reports on a Moslem who is friendly towards Israel
(A hard act to follow). 
This Moslem reportedly has links to heroin.
(Funded by Heroin Via the CIA …
“These days the religious teacher who wields most influence over the Turks is Fethullah Gulen,” says The Economist.
In 2010, 9 Turks, taking supplies to Gaza, were killed by Israeli commandos.Gulen said it was partly the Turkish side’s fault: the flotilla should not have defied Israel.Gulen lives in America and has been accused of having links to the CIA.
The Gulen movement “forms the apex of a huge conglomerate that includes NGOs, firms, newspapers and college dormitories in Turkey, plus schools across the world.”Several journalists who have tried probing Gulen have found themselves prosecuted or jailed.
People who criticize the movement “can face nasty smear campaigns.”
Obama visiting a Gulen school in Washington.
On 29 June 2010, Paul Williams PhD wrote:
 According to Paul Williams:
1. “Court records and the testimony of former government officials show that Fethullah Gulen, who presently resides in Pennsylvania, has amassed more than $25 billion in assets from the heroin route which runs from Afghanistan to Turkey.
2. “Sibel Edmonds, a former FBI translator, testified that the drug money has been channeled into Gulen’s coffers by the C.I.A.”
According to Sibel Edmonds: ‘A lot of the drugs were going to Belgium with NATO planes.
‘After that, they went to the UK, and a lot came to the US via military planes to distribution centers in Chicago, and Paterson, New Jersey.’
“Ms. Edmonds further said that Turkish diplomats, who would never be searched by airport officials, have come into the country ‘with suitcases of heroin.’
3. “According to Ms. Edmonds and other government witnesses, Gulen began to receive funding from the CIA in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union when federal officials realized that the U.S. could not obtain control of the vast energy resources of the newly created Russian republics because of deep-seated suspicion of American motives.
“Turkey, the U.S. officials came to realize, could serve as a perfect ‘proxy’ since it was a NATO ally that shared the same language, culture, and religion as the other Central Asian countries…
“The only way to provide Gulen with sufficient funds to topple Turkey’s secular regime and to conduct education jihad within the Russian republics came from the poppy fields of Afghanistan…
“The Obama administration has opted to turn a blind eye to Gulen and his mountain fortress in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania…“In his native Turkey, Gulen’s vast fortune has been used to create the Justice and Democratic Party (Adalet ve Kalkinma, AKP), which has gained control of the government…
Abdullah Gul, Turkey’s first Islamist President, is a Gulen disciple along with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Yusuf Ziya Ozcan, the head of Turkey’s Council of Higher Education…4. “Gulen has purchased newspapers, television networks, construction companies, universities, banks, utilities, technological outlets, pharmaceutics, and manufacturing firms throughout the country.
“In addition, he has established thousands of madrassahs (Islamic religious schools) throughout Central Asia where students are indoctrinated in the tenets of militant Islam…5.“But the Gulen movement is not confined to Turkey and Central Asia.“
85 Gulen schools have been set up in the United States as charter academies funded by public funds.6. “Is Gulen really affiliated with the CIA?
“In support of his application for permanent residency status, Gulen obtained letters of support and endorsement, from Graham Fuller and other former CIA officials.“His petition was also endorsed by former Under Secretary of State Marc Grossman, and former Ambassador to Turkey Morton Abramowitz.”
Note 1: On the Fathallah Gulan movement
Note 2: Fathallah Gulan and Erdogan are currently bitter enemies. Erdogan decided to close all private Islamic primary schools in Turkey and founded by Fathallah, transferred about 1,000 police officers and judges considered to be at the beck of Fathallah and had a law adopted to have Courts controlled by the parliament.  Only Erdogan has the power for these swift and radical changes and only the next election will prove who will remain in power. 

Turkey’s Corruption scandal? What kind of outrageous news is this?

Dozens of their journalists colleagues are in prison or on trial, thousands of faceless opponents hound them on Twitter, and phone calls from government officials warn them over their coverage – all hazards of the trade for Turkey’s journalists.

Government critics who refuse to be muzzled can find themselves sacked.

Others avoid trouble, such as the broadcaster screening a documentary on penguins last June while police sprayed thousands of demonstrators in Istanbul with tear gas.

DASHA AFANASIEVA published this Feb. 3, 2014 on Reuters:

Corruption scandal tests Turkey’s cowed media

What has erupted in the past few weeks, a probe into alleged corruption at the heart of Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan‘s government,  might seem like a gift to Turkey’s cowed and long-suffering press.

With a few exceptions, much of the press is in no position to capitalize on the scandal by taking a more robust line with the government.

The scandal has blown open a feud between Erdogan and the U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, (Fathallah-Gulan) a powerful former ally whose “Hizmet” (Service) movement has influence in the police and judiciary, as well as parts of the media, and whom Erdogan blames for orchestrating the graft probe to unseat him.

An anti-government protester holds a placard during a demonstration in Ankara in this June 4, 2013 file photo. REUTERS/Umit Bektas/Files

An anti-government protester holds a placard during a demonstration in Ankara in this June 4, 2013 file photo. CREDIT: REUTERS/UMIT BEKTAS/FILES

“Gulenist” newspapers such as Zaman and Bugun, previously loosely allied to Erdogan’s AK Party, have reported details of the allegations, from pictures of cash stuffed in shoe boxes to damaging phone recordings between businessmen and Erdogan’s associates, something almost unthinkable just a few months ago.

Pro-government newspapers like Sabah, Star and Yeni Safak have largely portrayed the corruption investigations as a plot against Erdogan.

In the middle is a mainstream media, largely owned by sprawling conglomerates with business ties to the state, which has been cautiously trying to find a more assertive new voice, although its ownership structures cast doubt over whether there can be real change.

“The graft probe is a new opportunity for Turkish journalism to push itself out of suffocation,” said Yavuz Baydar, one of Turkey’s most prominent journalists who launched Platform 24, a media monitoring website, on Monday.

“The question is whether major conglomerate-owned outlets such as Hurriyet and Milliyet will be able to rise up to the challenge,” he told Reuters. Milliyet declined to comment while the editor in chief of Hurriyet did not respond to emailed requests.

Baydar lost his job at Sabah, whose former owner Calik Holding is run by Erdogan’s son-in-law, after criticizing the police crackdown on anti-government protests last June.

Sabah was sold in December to Kalyon, a construction group with major government contracts, in a deal that typifies the ownership structures in Turkey’s media landscape.

At least a dozen newspapers and 10 TV stations are owned by conglomerates with energy, construction or mining interests, all sectors heavily dependent on government business.

“This has created a situation in which media outlets are used to promote the ownership group’s financial interests,” U.S.-based press watchdog Freedom House said in a report published on Monday.

“Members of the media and the government alike describe newspapers’ Ankara bureau chiefs as ‘lobbyists’ for their companies,” it said.

‘BETTER NOT UPSET SIR’

Erdogan has described the corruption investigation as an attempted “judicial coup“. He has reassigned prosecutors and judges and thousands of police officers.

That has brought the probe to a halt and prompted lawyers, despairing at what they view as a lack of transparent judicial process, to leak court documents to those parts of the press not favorable to the government.

But when news website T24 published an article about a parliamentary question from the opposition Republican People’s Party regarding claims of bribery in the sale of Sabah (Morning) and other media assets, it was told to take it down by the media regulator. Then on Monday the same regulator said it had sent the warning by mistake.

“We’re just trying to provide something different from the ‘government newspapers’ that publish the AK Party line that this is a coup d’etat,” said Erhan Basyurt, Bugun’s editor-in-chief.

The paper’s circulation went up to 165,000 from 140,000 in the month after the corruption probe broke.

Other newspapers have had to be more cautious.

A senior editor at one of Turkey’s largest dailies, who did not want to be named and fears for his job after his boss was told to fire him, said he had been the subject of a hate campaign on the Internet and in pro-government newspapers.

He was followed and threatened, his car-license plate at one point published online, he said.

Sometimes he did not put bylines on stories to protect reporters. He also might soften the headline or put material damaging to Erdogan lower down in stories.

Restrictions on press freedom and attacks on journalists are nothing new in Turkey.

Commemorations of the 2007 murder of Armenian-Turkish journalist Hrant Dink, widely viewed as a political assassination, still draw tens of thousands each year.

But the taboos have changed.

Where once criticism of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the revered founder of the modern secular republic, or portraying Kurdish militants as anything other than “terrorists” might have resulted in a jail sentence for “insulting Turkish identity,” now it is criticism of the government which is problematic.

Editors and reporters said they had received phone calls from officials close to the prime minister asking them to change their coverage or dismiss journalists for critical stories.

“The voice on the end of the line says, ‘Beyefendi rahatsız olmasın,’ which can be translated as ‘Better not upset sir’,” said prominent author and columnist Ece Temelkuran, fired from the Haberturk newspaper after a series of such warnings for her coverage of a Turkish air strike which killed Kurdish civilians.

“The use of the word ‘sir’, ‘beyefendi’ makes your realize straight away what you are dealing with,” she said.

Government and AK Party officials declined to comment.

POLARISED

Turkey is the world’s leading jailer of journalists, with 40 in prison as of December, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. Reporters Without Borders‘ press freedom index ranks Turkey 154th out of 178.

The government says no journalist is being held or tried for their work.

“They are facing situations like these solely because they have got mixed up in other activities,” a senior government official, who did not want to be names, told Reuters.

But government influence, such as the indirect sackings and threat of loss of business for parent companies, which poses the main threat to press freedom, journalists and rights groups say.

“The government seems to have acquired the habit of shooting the messenger whenever it is in trouble. Journalists should not have to suffer because of high-level administrative in-fighting,” Reporters Without Borders said in a December report.

These criticisms come ahead of local elections in March, a presidential race in August and parliamentary polls next year.

Opposition candidates complain that Erdogan’s frequent speeches are broadcast live and in full by a slew of television stations, a degree of coverage his opponents do not enjoy.

One of the most pernicious effects of the widespread firings of reporters and editors from the ‘mainstream’ media is that there are fewer moderate voices to be heard,”  Freedom House said in its report.

(Additional reporting by Orhan Coskun and Gulsen Solaker in Ankara; Reporting by Dasha Afanasieva; Editing by Alexandra HudsonNick Tattersall and Giles Elgood)

Note 1: Turkish Cultural expansion in Central Asia https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2010/05/14/a-turkish-cultural-movement-fathallah-gulan/

Note 2: How many terms a President or Prime Minister has to serve before turning a dictator or an oligarch? Is Putin of Russia any better?

The US Constitution didn’t mention any restriction on the number of times a President can be candidate. Luckily, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson refused a third tenure on account of facing great difficulties during their second term. Only Franklin Roosevelt served 4 terms because of the WWII and couldn’t finish it.

The Constitution was amended to only two terms since then.


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