Turkish opposition leader calls Erdoğan to action over coalition partner’s Gülenist claims
The leader of Turkish opposition Future Party Ahmet Davutoğlu has called on President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to respond to statements by ally Devlet Bahçeli, linking Davutoğlu to a religious group accused of orchestrating the July 2016 coup attempt.
Davutoğlu said the Turkish president should not remain silent in the face of allegations by Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader, accusing the former prime minister and Eroğan ally of links to the Gülen movement, Birgün newspaper reported.
Erdoğan’s junior coalition partner, Bahçeli, accused Davutoğlu of links the Gülen movement after the Future Party leader said the National Intelligence Organisation (MİT) had called for the former Major General Mehmet Dişli, key figure in the coup attempt, to be removed from duty well ahead of the failed putsch.
Davutoğlu on May 23 said Dişli, who was sentenced to life in prison last year, was due to be retired in the 2015 military council in line with MİT reports, but a last minute reversal on the decision had kept the major general on duty.
Bahçeli responded by accusing the Future Party of being a "Gülenist project."
The Turkish government accuses the Gülen movement, a secretive religious group, of orchestrating the failed putsch. The Gülen movement, formerly allied to Erdoğan’s Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP), denies any links to the coup attempt, during which 251 people were killed and nearly 2,200 wounded. The AKP has targeted hundreds of thousands of public officials and army personnel in a series of purges since July, 2016.
Davutoğlu said he had been a strong supporter for Dişli’s retirement, alongside MİT head Hakan Fidan, but said "other forces ’’in the state prevented the move.
"Our esteemed president cannot remain silent against such an accusation. He shouldn’t,’’ Birgün quoted Davutoğlu as saying, noting that he had played an important role in fighting Gülenists in the military.
Davutoğlu also said there was a MİT report on Akın Öztürk, former Turkish Air Forces Commander who was also sentenced to life in prison last year and is referred to as the ringleader of the coup.
Dişli and Öztürk are among the 151 who received life in prison over the failed 2016 coup in June 2019.