Baku, Azerbaijan, March 13
By Rufiz Hafizoglu - Trend:
Fethullah Gulen [Turkish Islamic public figure currently residing in the U.S.] requested political asylum in Canada, Turkish newspaper Sabah reported on March 13.
Gulen made this decision after Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan stressed the possibility of his extradition from the United States.
Aside from Canada, Gulen also asked for political asylum in New Zealand.
However these two countries have refused to grant him political asylum, according to the newspaper.
Earlier, Prime Minister Erdogan said it is possible to extradite Gulen, who he claims interferes in Turkey's internal affairs, helping to destabilize the situation in the country.
Turkish Justice Minister, Bekir Bozdag also previously said Fethullah Gulen can be put on the international wanted list.
The minister said a court decision is necessary to put Gulen on the international wanted list.
Turkish media reported on Feb. 25 that in 2011 telephone conversations of about 7,000 people associated with the representatives of both the ruling and opposition parties, including family members of the PM were wiretapped, as part of the anti-terrorist operation carried out by the Istanbul prosecutor's office against Salam terrorist organization.
During the anti-terrorist operations, telephone conversations of the head Turkish intelligence, Hakan Fidan was wiretapped as well.
After this, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Gulen as the representative of his movement to stand behind the wiretapping of the phone conversations.
Erdogan also stressed that Gulen's movement (which he earlier called as a 'parallel structure') with its anti-state activities proved that it is not a religious movement, but a politicized and illegal structure.
Earlier, the prime minister called on Fethullah Gulen not to intervene in Turkey's internal affairs and accused the U.S. of supporting him.
The council member of Turkish ruling Justice and Development Party, Mazhar Bagli said that all actions of Gulen and his supporters are aimed at undermining the country's national interests.
Gulen is the founder of the 'Hizmet' public movement, as well as, Turkish Journalists and Writers Foundation.
Translated by E.A.
Edited by C.N.