Turkey’s Erdogan sues opposition party chief over Gulen comments

A handout picture released by Zaman Daily shows exiled Turkish Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen. (AFP/Zaman Daily/Selahattin Sevi)
Updated 29 March 2018
0

Turkey’s Erdogan sues opposition party chief over Gulen comments

ISTANBUL: President Tayyip Erdogan has filed a lawsuit against the leader of Turkey’s main opposition party over “baseless” comments linking the president to the Muslim cleric Ankara blames for a failed 2016 coup, Erdogan’s lawyer said on Thursday.
The cleric, Fethullah Gulen, was once a close ally of Erdogan’s government, but they fell out in recent years. Turkish authorities declared Gulen’s movement a terrorist organization in 2016 and accused his supporters of instigating the military putsch later that year in which 250 people were killed.
Tens of thousands of people have been detained on charges of links to Gulen’s movement in the security crackdown that followed the attempt to overthrow Erdogan.
The head of the secular opposition People’s Republican Party (CHP,) Kemal Kilicdaroglu, said this week Erdogan had been closer to Gulen than any other Turkish politician.
“The political arm of the Gulenist network is the person who is occupying the presidency,” Kilicdaroglu said in a speech to members of his party in Ankara. “The number one political arm of Gulenist network, the number one defendant, is the person who occupies the presidency.”
Lawyer Huseyin Aydin dismissed the accusation, saying it was clear to everyone Erdogan was leading the fight against Gulen and that the president was seeking 250,000 lira ($63,000) in damages.
“We have filed a lawsuit because of Kilicdaroglu’s unfair and baseless accusations directed toward our president,” Aydin said on Twitter.
Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since 1999, has denied involvement in the abortive coup.
The UN human rights office said earlier this month Turkey has detained 160,000 people and dismissed nearly the same number of civil servants since July 2016. Of those detained, 50,000 have been formally charged and kept in jail during trial.
Erdogan, who has dominated Turkish politics for 15 years as prime minister and then president, has had multiple spats with Kilicdaroglu that produced more than 20 court cases. ($1 = 3.9855 liras)


White House’s Kushner to finalize Palestinian economic plan on Middle East tour -official

Updated 10 min 7 sec ago
0

White House’s Kushner to finalize Palestinian economic plan on Middle East tour -official

  • White House senior adviser Kushner will visit Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE

WASHINGTON: White House senior adviser Jared Kushner will lead a US delegation on a tour of the Middle East to finalize details of his proposed $50 billion economic development plan for the Palestinians, Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon, an administration official said on Sunday.
Kushner, Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt, State Department official Brian Hook and Kushner aide Avi Berkowitz are expected to make make stops in Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, the official said.
They leave late this month and return to Washington in early August.
The official said the purpose of the trip is to “continue on the momentum that was created at the workshop in Bahrain and finalize the economic portion of the plan.”
They will also discuss the possibility of locating the development fund in Bahrain, the official said.
Kushner, US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and the plan’s main architect, sought to build support for his ambitious economic proposals for the Palestinian territories at an international meeting in Bahrain in June.
Palestinians poured scorn on the Trump administration’s $50 billion investment plan to help achieve Middle East peace, but US Gulf Arab allies said the economic initiative had promise if a political settlement is reached.
Kushner and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin last week discussed creation of the fund with World Bank President David Malpass, the official said. The World Bank has a role in managing the fund.
The delegation was not expected to discuss Trump’s long-awaited political plan for the Middle East, and when it will be released remains unclear.