NEW YORK, April 29, 2014 – We continue to be deeply disturbed by Prime Minister Erdogan’s politically-motivated attempts to crackdown on law-abiding citizens who have done nothing but exercise their right to democratic dissent.
The prime minister’s talk about demanding the extradition of Mr. Gulen, when there are no charges or legal case against him, is a clear indication of political persecution and harassment. Such manipulative tactics are common practices in autocratic regimes, not in a democratic country that respects the rule of law.
Mr. Gulen is a proud Turkish national and a law-abiding U.S. resident who has devoted his life to democracy, human rights and freedoms.
Mr. Gulen and Hizmet participants should be recognized for their service to society and for fostering dialogue and understanding between Turkey and the world. Instead, the Turkish government shamefully uses false pretense to oppress and harass its own citizens, both within and outside Turkey.
The prime minister has already used his position of power to propagate hate speech against Mr. Gulen and his sympathizers, defaming them in the media outlets that he controls, that constitute the majority of Turkish media networks and reach millions of citizens.
Despite a months-long defamation campaign, the prime minister and his cronies have failed to show any evidence to justify their accusations. Any evidence introduced in the future will be scrutinized as possibly fabricated.
While we remain concerned about Prime Minister Erdogan attempting to take undue advantage of Turkey’s strategic relationship with the US, we place our trust in the US tradition of democracy and the rule of law, and believe that Mr. Erdogan’s move will ultimately be seen as yet another alarming attempt by his government to suppress the freedom of their citizens and silence their critics.
Unfortunately, his actions will only achieve one thing: They will continue to polarize Turkey and isolate the Turkish people from their democratic allies around the world.
About Alliance for Shared Values
Alliance for Shared Values is a non-profit organization that serves as a voice for civic organizations affiliated with the Hizmet initiative in the U.S. (also known as Gulen movement). The Alliance serves as a central source of information on Fethullah Gulen and Hizmet.
For more information, please visit www.afsv.org
Media Contact: Yasemin Aksoy, tel: 212.682.4278, email: email@example.com