In response to an article by Dan Bilefsky and Şebnem Arsu in the International Herald Tribune, titled “Shadow Force Grows in Turkey” Professor and human rights lawyer, James Harrington wrote an article in Today’s Zaman.
Prof. Harrington says that much of what the article “describes about Fethullah Gülen and Turkey’s recent history is accurate, but the authors cast a shadow of innuendo and loose conclusions, apparently more driven by personal predispositions than reality.”
The attack on the Gülen movement is disingenuous, especially the oft-repeated but never proven claim that Gülen supporters have infiltrated the national police for some perfidious purpose. Surely, there are Gülen followers in the police, just as there are Catholics in American police forces. But attributing an unfounded agenda is unworthy without evidence. It is equally unworthy to create a fact by innuendo by reporting an American embassy cable that whether the national police is controlled by Gülen followers ‘‘is impossible to confirm, but we have found no one who disputes it.’’ How can the lack of confirmation become a fact? I recently published a book on the eight-year political trial of Gülen, 2000-2008. One of the charges against him involved the police infiltration allegation, and many others, some of which your article re-plays (such as the Islamist “hidden agenda”). The three-judge trial court painstakingly discredited each charge in a 48-page opinion, and acquitted him. An appellate panel upheld the verdict, as did the plenary appeals court. This was a courageous decision by the trial judges, who are appointed by an arm of the state because the message to convict Gülen was clear.