Journalist demands Gülen be charged for plotting defamation campaign
by Merve Aydoğan
ANKARAApr 03, 2015 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Merve Aydoğan
Apr 03, 2015 12:00 am
The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor's Office has opened a case into the shadowy U.S.-based imam Fethullah Gülen, due to an alleged defamation campaign by the Gülen Movement of journalist Emin Pazarcı, who is the Ankara bureau chief of Akşam daily. According to the Criminal Code of Turkey, if Gülen is taken to trial and convicted, he could face one to four years in prison. Pazarcı filed a complaint against Gülen and his lawyer on Jan. 16 following members of the Gülen Movement suing every one of his writings, but every suit concluded with a verdict of non-prosecution. Alongside government officials, many notable figures have criticized the EU for their misjudgment regarding press freedoms in Turkey. In this regard, Pazarcı said that Gülenists suing him for his writings displays the two-facedness of the movement, which claims to support the freedom of expression in the press. Commenting on the basis of the trial, Pazarcı spoke to Daily Sabah and said he expects the court to penalize Gülen for his defamation. Pazarcı continued by adding: "While Fethullah Gülen continuously emphasizes the importance of the rightful share of others in his religious statements and tells his followers to apologize to those they have done wrong to, he himself has engaged in defamation campaigns against me. I except Gülen to apologize to me sincerely for his actions." Pazarcı further discussed the Gülen Movement's claims of supporting press freedom and said the movement's claims are "only a part of perception management."
"The concept of ‘cemaat' [Turkish for ‘community' and a term associated with the Gülen Movement] is solely based on submission to a higher authority. Thus, movement members must not speak of freedom of expression or the press," Pazarcı said. He also claimed that when he researched Gülen's lawyers he found that they have filed claims against journalists who are following the president and prime minister out of tens and thousands. Describing the Gülen Movement's efforts as a way to intimidate journalists, Pazarcı claimed Gülen's lawyers continue to file claims regardless of verdicts of non-prosecution. In this regard, Gülen Movement-affiliated journalist from Bugün daily, Nuh Gönültaş, harshly criticized the editor-in-chief of the Gülen Movement-affiliated Zaman daily, Ekrem Dumanlı, and the movement on March 25 on his personal Twitter account regarding movement members' claims of a lack of press freedom. Gönültaş also emphasized that neither the Gülen Movement nor Dumanlı have embraced the concept of democracy and press freedom and added that they use these claims as a cover.