EU minister says government’s views disregarded in int’l reports on July 15

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ANKARA, TURKEY - MARCH 13: Turkish EU Minister and Chief Negotiator Ömer Çelik gives a speech during a meeting with the representatives of media and press at the ministry building in Ankara, Turkey on March 13, 2017. AFP

In the first reaction from the Turkish government to a report from the UK Parliament, which said the Gülen movement was not behind a failed coup attempt on July 15 in Turkey, contrary to the government narrative, Turkey’s EU Minister Ömer Çelik said the government’s views are disregarded in such reports.

The Foreign Affairs Committee of the UK Parliament has concluded that Turkish-Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen and the movement he inspired as a whole were not behind the failed coup attempt on July 15.

“In such reports, either our views are not taken, or they are taken but disregarded, and a one-sided report is written,” Çelik said on Saturday.

The committee concluded that “Given the brutality of the events of 15 July, the severity of the charges made against the Gülenists, and the scale of the purges of perceived Gülenists that has been justified on this basis, there is a relative lack of hard, publicly–available evidence to prove that the Gülenists as an organization were responsible for the coup attempt in Turkey. While there is evidence to indicate that some individual Gülenists were involved, it is mostly anecdotal or circumstantial, sometimes premised on information from confessions or informants, and is—so far—inconclusive in relation to the organization as a whole or its leadership.”

A statement issued Saturday morning by the FAC as it released its report said, “The Committee took evidence from the Gülenists, including an oral hearing which stands as a rare example of the movement being scrutinized in public,” and that in contradiction to claims made over the past two years by Erdoğan and the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, “The FCO [The Foreign & Commonwealth Office] did not have evidence to justify the designation of the Gülenists as a terrorist organization by the UK, and the Committee agrees with this assessment.”

Last week the head of Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service (BND), Bruno Kahl, also said Turkey could not convince them that Gülen was behind the failed coup attempt on July 15.

Similarly, Devin Nunes, chairman of United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said he has not seen any evidence showing Gülen’s involvement in the failed coup attempt in Turkey.

 

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