SAYLORSBURG, Pa.: Turkey’s self-exiled leader Fethullah Gulen has asked the United States and European Union to ‘help Turkey return to a democratic path’, which under Erdogan has deviated from the destiny his countrymen dreamt of.
In a Washington Post opinion piece published on the day Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met President Donald Trump at the White House, Gullen wrote the two countries have a lot at stake, including the fight against the Daesh, the future of Syria and the refugee crisis.
‘But the Turkey that I once knew as a hope-inspiring country on its way to consolidating its democracy and a moderate form of secularism has become the dominion of a president who is doing everything he can to amass power and subjugate dissent.’
He added: “The West must help Turkey return to a democratic path. Tuesday’s meeting, and the NATO summit next week, should be used as an opportunity to advance this effort”.
President Erdogan has accused US-based Gulen for orchestrating the July 2016 failed coup and asked the US to handover the cleric to Ankara. However, he denied all the allegations.
Terming the post-coup measures - during which thousands were arrested and jailed – as ‘persecution’, Gullen said this is ‘threatening the long-term stability of the country’ and would be a ‘nightmare for Middle East security’ as Turkey under a dictatorial regime, providing haven to violent radicals and pushing its Kurdish citizens into desperation.
He suggested two measures to reversing the democratic regression in Turkey.
‘First, a new civilian constitution should be drafted through a democratic process involving the input of all segments of society and that is on par with international legal and humanitarian norms, and drawing lessons from the success of long-term democracies in the West.’
‘Second, a school curriculum that emphasizes democratic and pluralistic values and encourages critical thinking must be developed. Every student must learn the importance of balancing state powers with individual rights, the separation of powers, judicial independence and press freedom, and the dangers of extreme nationalism, politicization of religion and veneration of the state or any leader.’
He wrote: “Before either of those things can happen, however, the Turkish government must stop the repression of its people and redress the rights of individuals who have been wronged by Erdogan without due process”.