Turkish deputies send letter to Kerry, warn of Gülenist plots
by Sena Alkan
ISTANBULMar 03, 2015 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Sena Alkan
Mar 03, 2015 12:00 am
The Turkey-U.S. Friendship Group in Parliament has sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in reference to a letter signed by 88 U.S. senators, which was sent to Kerry on February 2, 2015, concerning cases of imprisoned journalists.
Highlighting that they are deeply concerned over the baseless allegations mentioned in the February 2 letter, the Turkey-U.S. Friendship Group urged Kerry to be aware of a smear campaign by the Gülen Movement against Turkey in the U.S. before responding to the February 2 letter. The letter from the Turkish deputies also said that the accusations against journalists as part of an investigation conducted by the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor are not related to journalistic activities, but related to crimes varying from forgery to being a member of a terrorist organization or forming one.
On February 2, a group of U.S. congressmen signed a letter to Kerry claiming that the Turkish government victimized members of the media in Turkey. Calling for transparency and tolerance by the government for a free press, the letter accused the government of attempting to "intimidate, arrest, and smother voices opposed to the government and threatening Turkish democracy."
Following the February 2 letter, the Turkey-U.S. Friendship Group sent a letter yesterday to Kerry to inform him before a possible reply to the February 2 letter. The letter signed by many Turkish lawmakers said that the accusations have nothing to do with journalistic activities and even in the most liberal democracies media representatives are not above the law or immune to criminal proceedings.
Referring to the Gülen Movement, which is accused of infiltrating key government institutions with an alleged aim of overthrowing the elected government and an alleged smear campaign against Turkey by using its supposed connections in the U.S. administration, the group said: "As you know, there are some Turkish organizations in the U.S. whose motives and connections are uncertain."
Accusing the Gülen Movement, whose head Fethullah Gülen lives in self-imposed exile in the U.S., of perpetrating propaganda against Turkey, the Turkish deputies said the February 2 letter signed by the U.S. senators is part of this smear campaign.
"Unfortunately, these sort of cases in Turkey are interpreted by the U.S. congressmen as silencing the free press and bias," the letter said, adding that those acts are sad and discouraging as Turkish lawmakers exert efforts to protect cooperation and solidarity between the two countries.
Showing its determination to support the strategic relations between Turkey and the U.S., the group urged Kerry to evaluate its reasons while responding to the February 2 letter.
On February 24 and February 26, Turkey-U.S. Friendship Group Chairman Şaban Dişli paid a visit to Washington with a delegation and remarked after the visit that they would maintain their visits to prevent the influence of the Gülen Movement in Congress.
Speaking to Daily Sabah after the talks, Dişli said representatives from both sides should visit each other more frequently to enable progress in the relationship between the two countries without a problem. "Otherwise, the Gülen Movement is engaging in all sorts of activities to hamper Turkey and create a negative impression [of Turkey] with the power it exercises. We will sustain our work in the forthcoming days, too," he stated.
Dişli also said the timing of their visit was convenient and the train-and-equip agreement signed between Turkey and the U.S. created a positive impression in Congress. "I invited each of them to Turkey and said that they could visit the camps of the Syrians positioned in Turkey," Dişli said.