Erdogan bashed for 'baseless claims' that his opponents linked to Israel's Mossad

Turkish president says Israeli intelligence agency backing his arch-rival, who he accuses of trying to topple his government.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (photo credit: REUTERS)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has come under fire in Turkey for claiming that allies of his arch-foe, the US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen, are linked to Israel's Mossad.
Erdogan accuses Gülen of setting up a "parallel state" within the Turkish administration and trying to topple him, blaming his supporters within the police and judiciary for a corruption inquiry that rocked the government late in 2013.
Over the weekend, Erdogan was quoted by Turkish daily Hurriyet as saying that Gülenists have joined forces with the Israeli intelligence service.
"The sincere people backing this parallel structure should see with whom this structure is cooperating with...shame on them if they still cannot see that this structure is cooperating with the Mossad," Erdogan charged.
"If this is not treason then what is it?" Erdogan was quoted as saying, adding that the Gülen movement wiretapped top secret Turkish state meetings, feeding the information to foreign intelligence services.
Erdogan's political rivals in Turkey criticized him for making the claims without providing any evidence of their truth.
Turkish newspaper Today's Zaman quoted Oktay Ekşi, a deputy from the Republican People's Party, as saying Sunday that Erdogan "has always said a claimant needs to prove his claim, but it is he who has never bothered to prove his claims.”
Tunca Toskay of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) accused Erdogan of "irresponsible behavior," following the allegations of Mossad connections to the Gülen movement.
Erdogan has claimed in the past that the Gülen movement is a pawn of "foreign imperial powers," but had not before made allegations that the Mossad specifically was connected to the movement, and to the graft probe against him.
Erdogan has cast the investigation, which led to the resignation of three ministers, as a "coup attempt" and in response he had thousands of police officers, judges and prosecutors removed from their posts.
Last month a Turkish court issued an arrest warrant against Gülen on suspicion of heading up a criminal organization. Gulen, who lives in self-imposed exile but was for years an important Erdogan ally before their relations soured, denies any involvement in plots against the government.
Reuters contributed to this report.