WASHINGTON – Turkey’s self-exiled leader Fethullah Gulen has asked the United States and the European Union to “help Turkey return to a democratic path.”
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In a Washington Post opinion piece published on the day Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met President Donald Trump, Gulen 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”.
Terming the post-coup measures taken by Erdogan administration 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 emphasises 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, the politicisation of religion and veneration of the state or any leader,” he wrote
Gulen opined that before materialising any of the two things, the Turkish government must stop the repression of its people and redress the rights of individuals who have been wronged by president Erdogan without due process.
Turkish president Erdogan was furious over Gulen after the botched coup in July, last year. Gulen was also blamed for inciting people and playing a role leading to an uprising from military corridors, however, the scholar rubbished the claims.
Following the coup, a crackdown was launched in Turkey. Turkish officials also enlisted Pakistan’s help to shut down a network of Pak-Turk schools. A massive shuffle was done following the ramped up pressure from ‘Sick man of Europe’