Nasuhi Güngör, a journalist who served as an executive at state-run TRT for three years, has refuted an assertion in a book he wrote that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan met with Fethullah Gülen, a US based Turkish cleric, in the early 2000s to seek his blessing for his Justice and Development Party (AKP), after Erdoğan denied an allegation made by Republican People’s Party (CHP) presidential candidate Muharrem İnce based on the book.
“I am sorry to admit that these claims that I personally wrote cannot be taken as fact,” Güngör tweeted.
“I can’t allow damage to be done to the fight against FETÖ [Gülen network] and Mr. President’s uncompromising efforts to do so by a baseless rumor that I penned years ago,” he added.
FETÖ, here, meant a derogatory term coined by ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to refer to the Gülen movement, accused of mounting a botched coup attempt last July. However, Fethullah Gülen strongly denied having any role in the failed coup and called for an international investigation into it.
The CHP’s İnce on May 25 said Erdoğan went to the US in 2001 just before founding his AKP, meeting with Gülen to ask for his blessing. İnce also stated that he had a witness who was a close friend of Erdoğan.
Erdoğan angrily responded that he never went to Gülen’s retreat in Pennsylvania and only admitted to seeing Gülen face-to-face in İstanbul a few times before Gülen went to the US.
İnce actually aimed to hit Erdoğan by “his gun”, through which many Turkish dissidents were blamed to be a part of the Gülen movement, and even prosecuted.
At a rally in Kırşehir on Wednesday İnce finally provided details about his allegation, based on a book titled “Yenilikçi Hareket” (Reviving the Movement) by Nasuhi Güngör.
İnce said Güngör had been friend of Erdoğan’s since becoming an executive for TRT.
Erdoğan once considered Gülen an ally; however after a police investigation into the close circle of Erdoğan unfolded in December 2013, assuming the movement was behind it, Gülen and the movement have become a foe.