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Sr. Reporter: Gulen's counter-offensive against Turkish critics revealed

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A Texas civil-rights lawyer, James Harrington, has written a book on the Turkish government's effort to prosecute the imam Fethullah Gulen, who lives in exile in Pennsylvania.

The new book's website contains links to some great documents on Gulen, who has become the focus of controversy because of the establishment of charter schools by his followers and importation of Turkish teachers to staff them. They also relate to the concerns about freedom of speech and thought in Turkey, which have arisen after the recent arrest of Turkish journalists.

For example, there is a translation (attached) of the Turkish court decision that ended Gulen's prosecution for attempting to overthrow the secular state. It's fascinating reading to give you a window into Turkey's judicial system, and its politics.

The flipside of that document, in a way, is the list of defamation cases that Gulen has brought against his critics (attached). The translators of the list apparently consider it evidence of the vendetta against Gulen in the Turkish media, as they introduce the document this way: "This is a partial list of the defamation lawsuits brought by Fethullah Gülen’s lawyers during the anti-Gülen media campaign, before and during the trial."

But to my American eyes, the list offers a window into what looks like a frightening campaign against free speech by a public figure. The cases are repeatedly summarized in terms such as this:

"Cumhuriyet [newspaper] article 'Fethullahist Kingdom' (May 13, 1994) by H. Cetinkaya that Gülen was trying to take Turkey into Dark Ages. Court ruled Gülen was humiliated, slandered, and insulted. Compensation of 100.000.000TL and court expenses charged to defendants."

"Humiliated, slandered and insulted"?! An American reporter's likely response is "Poor baby!" Here's another one:

"91. Ankara 1. Lower Criminal Court (Decision No. 2006/705, Aug. 31, 2006). Main News Bulletin by Kanal Turk TV (Aug. 11, 2006 at 8pm) broadcast false news about Gülen and slandered him, which a court-appointed expert confirmed. Tekzip ordered."

Take a look through the website and its documents. I'm curious what you find and what you think. At the least it's a look into a country where speech can easily be considered criminal.

All you have to do is read about the recent arrest and prosecution of journalist Ahmet Sik, author of a book about Gulen, to understand that.



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Fethullah Gulen has filed many suits in Turkish courts against those whom he claims are slandering, insulting or humiliating him. This is a pa…

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