Erdoğan spokesman says Germany backs Gülen movement

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İbrahim Kalın (L) and Bruno Kahl

In reaction to statements made by the head of German Federal Intelligence Agency (BND) that Germany was not convinced of Fethullah Gülen’s alleged role in a failed coup attempt on July 15, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s spokesman İbrahim Kalın has claimed that Germany supports the Gülen movement against Turkey.

On Saturday, the head of the BND, Bruno Kahl, said Turkey could not convince them that Muslim scholar Gülen was behind the failed coup attempt despite accusations against the Gülen movement.

Kalın, in an interview with CNNTürk on Sunday, accused Germany of supporting the Gülen movement, which he calls “FETÖ,” a derogatory term to designate the peaceful movement as a terrorist organization.

As far as Kahl’s remarks are concerned, “It is noteworthy to show who backs FETÖ,” Erdoğan’s spokesman said.

“When have you ever heard the head of BND make a statement on such a specific issue?” asked Kalın about the German intelligence revelation. He claimed that the German statement was an attempt to “whitewash” the Gülen movement in Europe. Erdoğan’s spokesman also argued that Germany would back the Gülen movement just as it backs the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

In remarks that were published in Der Spiegel yesterday, in addition to saying Gülen was not behind coup, Kahl also ruled out arguments that the government staged July 15. “The coup was not initiated by the state. There was an ongoing purge even before July 15. As a result, some within the military thought that they should intervene before the purge reaches them. However, it was too late, and they were purged during this process, too.”

According to Kahl, the failed coup attempt served as a pretext to accelerate the purge. BND head said that what is being witnessed in the post-coup era was going to happen anyway, though maybe not with the same depth and same radical steps, in reference to an unprecedented crackdown of critics in Turkey.

Kalın, however, said on live TV that Germany is considering using the Gülen movement as a  “tool of convenience” against Turkey. He further criticized the leak of a European intelligence report in January that also ruled out Gülen as the mastermind of the coup.

A report prepared by the EU Intelligence Analysis Centre (IntCen) revealed that although Erdoğan and the Turkish government immediately put the blame for the July 15 failed coup on the faith-based Gülen movement, the coup attempt was staged by a range of Erdoğan’s opponents due to fears of an impending purge, according to a report by The Times newspaper.

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