In an address to the Pakistani parliament on Thursday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said interfaith dialogue is not possible, in an effort to bash the Gülen movement’s efforts to foster dialogue between various faiths, including meetings with the Vatican.
Slamming the efforts of the Gülen movement to establish dialogue among believers of different faiths, Erdoğan targeted Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, the inspiration for the movement, directly, saying: “When you look at him, he was able to easily establish dialogue with the Vatican. How is interfaith dialogue is possible? How can we offer dialogue among İslam and other religions? Is that possible?”
Erdoğan’s remarks aiming to discredit the Gülen movement in a Muslim country contradict earlier efforts, when he co-chaired a UN initiative called the Alliance of Civilizations, proposed in 2005. The initiative Erdoğan actively promoted at the time aimed at intercultural and interfaith dialogue taking international action against extremism.
Erdoğan has long criticized the Gülen movement’s dialogue with the Vatican.
The pro-Erdoğan media often runs fabricated stories about Gülen and even portrays him as a “cardinal” disguised under the identity of a Muslim cleric, in order to discredit Gülen in the eyes of the conservative public in Turkey.