„KNOW BETTER WITH MESOP“ – BACKGROUNDER: UK Ambassador — “Gülenists Were Involved in This Coup”- HurrietInterview:
30 July 2016 – The British Ambassador to Turkey, supporting the line of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has said he accepts that followers of the self-exiled cleric Fethullah Gülen were “involved” in the failed coup of July 15. – Richard Moore was asked in an interview by the daily Hürriyet, “The government accused the Gülen organization of being behind this coup attempt. Do you agree with this?”
He responded: I guess we’ll see more definitively as the legal process develops. But I don’t have any difficulty in accepting what the government is saying; that Gülenists were involved in this coup. I think emerging evidence suggests that conclusion.
So, circumstantially, without prejudging the judicial process, it looks to me a pretty convincing case. But no doubt more will emerge in the coming weeks so I don’t want to jump to conclusions.
The statement is the clearest from a Western diplomat endorsing the President’s declaration of the responsibility of Gülen — a long-time political ally who split from Erdoğan in 2013 — for the uprising by part of the Turkish military.
Erdoğan has demanded Gülen’s extradition from his home in Pennsylvania, calling President Obama to press his case. Obama responded that evidence is needed before the extradition request will be considered.
Moore made no such call in his interview. Instead, he endorsed Erdoğan’s line:
Look, having spoken to senior officials, to senior ministers here, I don’t think anyone understood the degree to which they appear to have penetrated the military. I think there is a quite good deal of understanding that they had infiltrated other institutions, particularly the police and judiciary….
I think we were all surprised at the scale of it in the military. But is it a complete surprise? No. There have been reports of Gülenists trying to get in the military as early as the 1990s.
So, I don’t find it difficult to understand.
Asked if the UK would consider “any Turkish demand regarding Gülen-affiliated organizations”, the Ambassador replied:
We will take this seriously. We are not dismissive of this in any shape or form….If Turkey produces evidence that organizations in the U.K. affiliated with Gülen movement have been involved in illegal activities and attempted to subvert democratic institutions, then we’ll have no hesitation, of course, in trying to help.
Balancing Over Government’s Crackdown
Implicitly asked about the Government’s detention or suspension of more than 60,000 State employees — including judges, teachers, civil servants, and academics as well as military personnel — and the crackdown on journalists and their outlets, Moore balanced between support and a call for restraint:
I think it’s legitimate to recognize there is a risk….We have to start off by recognizing that this country has a serious issue it has to deal with…
Then of course any action against anyone has to be proportionate and has to stay within the rule of law. Turkey has to meet their international obligations. And on all of those, the government has given assurances that those are its intentions.
Clearly we have raised in recent months and years concerns about the deterioration in the freedom of expression, and those concerns remain. We have been surprised by some of the names included in the arrests. I hope as prosecutors take this process forward that those people who can be seen neither to be involved in the coup nor involved in the infiltration and subversion of the Turkish state institutions can be allowed to resume their normal life quickly. www.mesop.de