Why do you stay in America?

Legally there is nothing preventing you from returning to Turkey. Why do you prefer to stay here?

I am seized with anxiety. Regardless of when, or if, I return to Turkey, those who have created controversy, made allegations, signed the execution of my death sentence [so to speak], will do so again the very same day I return. At my age, my blood pressure has risen to 20 points, and they have been unable to lower it with medicine. I thought living would be hard if I had to hear the same things all the time. I made the logical choice and stayed here. I stayed despite myself. I stayed by burying the longing in my chest. But, I have seen it as indirectly pushing myself closer to death. Some have no mercy. They write impossible things. They write despite the fact they are knowingly spreading lies. Even though they were pressured by various circles, some suggested the idea of “araf” to the court. Neither Heaven nor Hell–something in between. It shows this: Their conscience was pointing them in the right direction. However, there was an artificial public opinion conceived by some in Turkey and it was boiling over. They took this into consideration. I made my deposition to an American public prosecutor here. I swear. The prosecutor (Assistant US Attorney Mr. Bruce Repetto in Newark, NJ) had compiled nearly 100 questions based on the claims. He was laughing at it all. What kind of law is this, that these kinds of things could be a crime?*

Could you give an example?

For example, you said that if you are followed by someone and if you want to keep your position in the state institution, deal with it, do not make your feelings obvious. Unrealistic claims such as this. Organizational claims too, such as taking over management. The prosecutor laughed at these. Another thing is that I was faced with this for the first time. I met with the prosecutor only once.

He (Mr. Bruce Repetto) met me at the main door. He had a translator. He walked me to the chair. He washed the glasses himself and brought water. Namely, like a psychiatrist or psychologist who considers a person’s feelings, he wanted to take my deposition after he had comforted me. He left the room three times to let me think and to talk to my lawyers. He requested “yes” and “no” answers from me while he was asking questions. I wanted to add something, but he found it unnecessary. Then, he walked out the door. I said to myself, “If this is the courthouse, then long live America.”

There are some people who say about you, “if America were not supporting him, he would not stay there such a long time.”

I am regarded here as an official of religion. I have temporary residency as an official. I extend it every year. Meanwhile, I earn my living with publishing royalties from the books. There are hundred of people here like me. They are on duty in different mosques. They are not affiliated with Religious Affairs. I told the FBI [officer], who came here for an investigation related to my residency, that I gave pep talks. Some people came and I gave pep talks to them as well.

* Visit this page to read Mr. Fethullah Gulen’s testimony at US Attorney’s office in Newark, NJ.

Source: This is a part of an interview with Fethullah Gulen by Nuriye Akman of Zaman Newspaper in Turkey in March 2004. Click here to read the full interview.

Related Articles

Is Fethullah Gülen a Threat to Democracy?

Is Fethullah Gülen a Threat to Democracy?

The importance of the ideas that the state favours — democracy, secularism and modernization — is recognized by Fethullah Gülen and he says he supports them. Why then…