Turkish PM: Opposition, Gulen 'instructed to create chaos'

Davutoglu says main opposition leader and U.S.-based preacher both aim at dragging Turkey into turmoil

Davutoglu says main opposition leader and U.S.-based preacher both aim at dragging Turkey into turmoil

ANKARA - Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Tuesday that Turkey's main opposition party and the U.S.-based preacher Fethullah Gulen "are receiving instructions from the same mastermind to drag Turkey into chaos."

"There is a hand behind this which gives the same instructions to [main opposition Republican People's Party chairman] Kemal Kilicdaroglu and the Pennsylvania-based head of the parallel structure," he told a parliamentary group meeting of his Justice and Development, or AK, Party.

Self-exiled U.S.-based Gulen and his ​so-called Hizmet movement are accused of masterminding an illegal organization trying to topple the Turkish government through what has been dubbed as the parallel state -- an alleged group of Turkish bureaucrats and senior officials nestled within key institutions of the state, such as the police and the judiciary.

The premier said the opposition and Pennsylvania-based preacher both aimed at leading the country into a state of turmoil.

Davutoglu's remarks were referring to Gulen's Feb. 3 article in The New York Times and the Turkish main opposition leader's speech opposing a new domestic security reform bill criminalizing participation in protests with covered faces and making possession of Molotov cocktails punishable with up to 5 years behind bars.

During his parliamentary address last week, Kilicdaroglu called on the Turkish youth to take to the streets and promised that he will be in the forefront of the protests.

The bill, which was first submitted to the parliamentary commission in November 2014 in the wake of last October's protests in the country that resulted in the deaths of dozens of Turkish citizens, is expected to be completed in the coming days, submitted for parliamentary approval and pass into law before the summer break.

Davutoglu noted that the main opposition party regard chaos as the only means of coming to power since "they have no hope of winning the general election on June 7," as he put it.

"Now that you are saying you are the leader of a democratic party, it is better that you call people to the polls, rather than to resist," he said.

The Turkish premier said Kilicdaroglu will no longer be a politician but become "a provocateur if he takes a Molotov cocktail in his hand and leads people taking to the streets to protest."

On Gulen's New York Times article, Davutoglu said the Pennsylvania-based preacher is signaling to the lobbies in the U.S by "wrongfully accusing the Turkish government of oppressing minorities and non-Muslim citizens.

"The article claims that minority rights are violated in Turkey as April 24 (anniversary of the 1915 incidents) is approaching," he said.

The premier also pledged that his government will continue to stand against all such lobbying activities "while Palestine remains under Israeli occupation."

The 1915 incidents, which the Armenian diaspora and Armenia both describe as "genocide," took place during World War I when a portion of the Armenian population living in the Ottoman Empire sided with the invading Russians and revolted against the empire. 

The uprisings came about after a decision by the empire to relocate Armenians in eastern Anatolia.

In April 2014, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was then the prime minister, had offered his condolences to Armenians, who died during the 1915 incidents. The move was considered the beginning of a normalization process between Turkey and Armenia.

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