Amid another rumoured coup attempt in Turkey, prominent Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen has said that as a victim of four military coups in the past, democracy cannot be achieved or protected through military interventions.
Gülen is an Islamic scholar, preacher and social advocate, whose decades‐long commitment to education, interfaith dialogue and altruism has inspired millions in Turkey and around the world.
The Turkish government had alleged that Fethullah Gülen, who lives in self-imposed exile in the United States was behind a failed the military coup attempt against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in July.
In a statement Thursday to LEADERSHIP, Gülen said, “Once again, the Turkish media, under government control or government pressure, is circulating horrific rumors, this time about a supposed second coup attempt in the works, supposedly prepared by my sympathizers with the backing of the United States. Such rumors are unfounded and irresponsible.”
He said that even if elected political leaders persecute him and the participants of Hizmet movement by trampling over fundamental human rights, he will never approve their removal through anti-democratic means.
“I strongly condemn the efforts to portray me as the architect of the treacherous July 15 coup attempt, despite the fact that I condemned it in the strongest terms while it was in progress and I repeatedly and clearly have denied playing any role in it. If some people who appear to be sympathizers of Hizmet were involved in the treacherous coup attempt, they betray my ideals and should face justice,” he said.
“I believe that the rumors of a second coup attempt are being circulated in Turkish media deliberately to set a trap against our citizens, and especially against Hizmet participants.”
“Already, declarations appeared in media by irresponsible individuals who suggest moving prisoners to solitary confinement in order to make it easier to execute them. The spread of these horrific rumors and suggestions by pro-government mass media generate an atmosphere of hate that paves the way for further atrocities,” he added.
He condemned July failed coup and any attempt to stage a coup or even the consideration of such action. “I also condemn spreading rumors to defame a peaceful social movement to justify ongoing persecution of its participants,” he said.