Turkish government seeks dialogue with Gulen movement

Following corruption case, former politicians call for candidates for public office to publicly declare personal assets.

Anti-Erdogan protesters in Turkey (photo credit: REUTERS/Umit Bektas)
Anti-Erdogan protesters in Turkey
(photo credit: REUTERS/Umit Bektas)
Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu of the ruling AKP party called for dialogue with the Hizmet movement of Fethullah Gulen in order to end the current political crisis in Turkey.
“We should build dialogue instead of physical barriers…. There is a way out of this crisis – let’s have dialogue.... That is why [Prime Minister Recep Tayyip] Erdogan invited Gulen to Turkey,” Davutoglu said on Sunday in a TV interview, according to a report in the Turkish Hurriyet Daily News.
Referring to the corruption scandal that has plagued the government in recent weeks and led to the resignation of ministers last week, Davutoglu said the government would be stricter in dealing with corruption cases.
Analysts believe Gulen’s Islamist movement is behind the charges against top members of Erdogan’s government.
One hundred former politicians declared on Saturday that candidates in the upcoming municipal elections should publicly declare their personal assets to promote transparency.
“We perceive the declaration of personal assets by mayoral candidates, candidates for provincial and municipal councils on the eve of local elections and in the proceeding election calendar as a measure against bribery and corruption,” read the statement reported by Turkish daily Today’s Zaman. “We do not have the right to lose hope. We hope for democracy and good governance.”
Opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu of the Republican People’s Party said, “It is the first time in the history of the Turkish Republic that a prime minister defends those who are implicated in corruption.”
“How can someone who defends thieves be a prime minister? Turkey needs clean and honest politics,” he said, Hurriyet reported.
Meanwhile, a woman was arrested for waving a shoebox during Erdogan’s speech to supporters at a rally in Manisa, according to the report. Police had found $4.5 million stuffed in shoeboxes during a raid earlier this month on the house of Suleyman Aslan, the general manager of the state-run Halkbank.