World Bulletin / News Desk
A well-known and respected Uzbekistani journalist, who has been living in exile in Turkey since fleeing his country in 1993 for opposing president Islam Kerimov's regime, has accused Turkish congregational leader Fethullah Gulen of leading the efforts to deport him from Turkey.
Speaking to the Daily Sabah, Muhammad Salih claimed that the followers of Fethullah Gulen in Uzbekistan had entered negotiations with President Kerimov to remove restrictions on their activities in the central Asian country in return for his deportation from Turkey.
He said that members and associates of Fethullah Gulen's Hizmet Movement in the Turkish government were being pressured to start the deportation process, and had approached Salih's long-time friend, the late Grand Unity Party leader Muhsin Yazicioglu, to act as a mediator in the process.
According to the Daily Sabah, Yazicioglu rejected this offer, and warned Salih of their plans. When they failed to deport Sailh, they deported his friend Professor Orhan Kavuncu instead, who in turn wrote to Salih from Uzbekistan, urging him to leave Turkey in order to lift the restrictions on Gulen's schools in Uzbekistan.
Having refused the offer, Salih decided to write to the US-based Fethullah Gulen in 2008, asking him to back down on the pressure that his followers were applying on him. In the letter, which was obtained by the Daily Sabah, Salih wrote to Gulen:
"Dear Fethullah Gulen, my name is Muhammed Salih. I am an Uzbek Turk. I have been in exile for 16 years on the grounds of my opposition to the regime in Uzbekistan...While everyone tried to distance themselves from you, I tried to be objective toward you and your movement and bore no hostility. During the days of your departure to the U.S., I spoke of the injustices against you. I thought that you also knew about the longing for a homeland. The thought of secret negotiations between you and a dictator didn't cross my mind, but after speaking to people who requested my departure from Turkey, I finally became sure of it. If you really are in such an agreement, I will never forgive nor give my blessing to you as a person who has been wronged."
In an exclusive interview with the newspaper, Salih confirmed that he had sent the letter, which was received by Gulen, but got no reply in return.
Fethullah Gulen's Hizmet Movement has been the focus point of a wave of scandals that has been hitting the Turkish media regarding wiretapping and corruption in the country, with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan accusing Gulen of setting up a 'parallel state' to undermine the government.Last Mod: 11 Mart 2014, 13:37