Michael Rubin, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and a former Pentagon official, on Friday tweeted and published a rebuttal to news that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had filed a criminal complaint against him in Ankara for allegedly “insulting” him and “committing crimes in the name of the Gülen movement in his social media messages.”
“I am sorry Tayyip, you want to be stronger than Atatürk. But even my tweets are enough to make you sad. Pity but the truth is bitter, @RT_Erdogan,” Rubin said on Twitter, adding: “I am sorry @RT_Erdogan, I will not sacrifice my freedom of expression for your ego.”
“You filed a criminal complaint about me yesterday. I repeat it today, you are still corrupt. O Tayyip, you will not be able to silence me, @RT_Erdogan,” said Rubin in another tweet he posted on Saturday.
The complaint alleges that Rubin’s “unreasonable accusations and insulting social media messages are not only a reflection of the animosity and rage he feels for President Erdoğan, but also a reflection of his enmity towards the Republic of Turkey.”
Erdoğan’s lawyer also claimed that by sharing messages in Turkish on social media, Rubin committed crimes in the name of the Gülen movement, which the government accuses of masterminding a failed coup attempt in Turkey on July 15.
In his “confession” Rubin admits to having written about Erdoğan’s corruption and crackdown on political dissent as well as the fact that the president is taking Turkey down a path to ruin.
He says he does not support Turkish Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen or the organization he inspired, although admits that sometimes he agrees with what Gülen says or does.
Rubin acknowledges having suggested that “something smells fishy about the evidence put forward by Erdogan” about the coup attempt last summer in Turkey and also that Erdoğan’s approach to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levent (ISIL) and the Kurdish negotiations have resulted in terrorist attacks in which hundreds of Turks have died.
Saying he believes that Erdoğan could end up martyred or in exile, Rubin criticizes Erdoğan’s shutting down of outlets of civil dissent for political reasons. “When you have truth on your side, you needn’t try to arrest or intimidate your opponents,” he wrote.
In April, a group of Turkish lawyers also filed criminal complaints with the İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office against 17 prominent US figures including Rubin on allegations of being members of the Gülen movement or supporting it.
Mehmet Sarı and Rıza Saka are two of the lawyers who filed the criminal complaints against former US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara, US Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) President David Cohen, President of the Turkic American Alliance (TAA) Faruk Taban, lawyer Zafer Akın from the Turkish Cultural Center, Kemal Öksüz from the Turquoise Council of Americans and Eurasians, Emre Çelik from the Rumi Forum, former Turkish police chief Ahmet Sait Yayla, who currently resides in the US, Henri Barkey, director of the Middle East Program at the Washington-based Wilson Center, American political analyst Graham E. Fuller, Mahmut Yeter from the Mid Atlantic Federation of Turkic American Associations, Talha Saraç from the Turkish American Business Network (TABN), CIA Director John Brenan, Recep Özkan, Burak Yeneroğlu and Ralph Peters as well as Rubin.