The West must help Turkey return to democratic path—Gulen

Fethullah Gulen

Fethullah Gulen

Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish Muslim cleric has urged The West to help Turkey return to democratic path.
“The people of Turkey need the support of their European allies and the United States to restore our democracy since Turkey initiated true multiparty elections in 1950 to join NATO,” he stressed.
Speaking to the Washington Post in an interview prior to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) Summit next week in the United States, Mr. Gulen, who is based in the United States, explained that as a requirement of its membership, NATO must demand that Turkey honours its commitment to the alliance’s democratic norms.
He mentioned a new civilian constitution should be drafted through a democratic process involving all segments of society and a school curriculum that emphasises democratic and pluralistic values that encourages critical thinking must be developed, which are critical to reversing the democratic regression in Turkey.
“Before either of these things can happen, however, the Turkish government must stop the repression of its people and redress the rights of individuals who have been wronged by Erdogan without due process,” he said.
Mr. Gulen indicated that he would not live to see Turkey become an exemplary democracy but prayed the downward authoritarian drift be stopped before it is too late.
Recounting the deplorable coup attempt on July 15, 2016, he pointed out that the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan had systematically persecuted, arrested, detained, fired and ruined the lives of more than 300,000 citizens.
Mr. Gulen lamented that as the coup attempt unfolded he fiercely denounced it and denied any involvement and that anyone who participated in it betrayed his ideals.
“The government pursued innocent people outside Turkey, pressurising Malaysia, for instance, to deport three Hizmet sympathisers including a school principal to face imprisonment and torture.
“In April, the president won a narrow referendum victory-amid allegations of serious fraud-to form an ‘Executive Presidency’ without checks and balances, enabling him to control all three branches of the government,” he lamented.
Mr. Gulen pointed out that President Erdogan’s persecution of his people is not a simple domestic matter but threatening the long-term stability of the country, polarised and dictatorial ruling Justice and Development (AKP) regime, providing haven to violent radicals and pushing Kurdish citizens into desperation would be a nightmare for Middle East security. –The Washington Post

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