Fethullah Gülen's Testimony

Fethullah Gülen sworn.

"The witness: I formally and on my honor, in the presence of God, I give oath, I swear that everything I will say will be according to the truth."

A: J. ELTERMAN, Interpreter, sworn.

Direct examination by Mr. REPETTO:

Q: Would you state your name for the record, please.

A: Fethullah Gülen.

Q: And where do you live most of the time?

A: In Izmir and in Istanbul.

Q: How old are you?

A: I was born in 1941.

Q: And what month and day of the year?

A: 27th of April, 1941.

Q: And where were you born?

A: Erzurum Pasinler koy, koy means village, Korucuk.

Q: And what were the names of your parents?

A: My father's name Ramiz, my mother's name Rabia.

Q: Okay. I want to advise you of the rights that you have at this deposition. You have the right to remain silent. You have the right to collect and request the collection of evidence. You have the right to have an attorney present. Do you understand those rights?

A: Yes, I do.

Q: Do you have an attorney present?

A: Yes, I have two.

Mr. Repetto: Okay. Can we have the identification of those two. Do you have cards that you could give the reporter?

Mr. Aksoy: We can give.

Q: Would you state who your attorneys are.

A: Abdulkadir Aksoy, Orhan Erdemli.

Q: And you also have present with your tour own interpreter. Is that correct?

A: Rustu Kalyoncu is with me, yes.

Q: Now, I advised you earlier that we have only one official interpreter here. Your interpreter is welcome, but there is only one official interpreter.

"You are charged in Indictment 2000/124 of advocating and attempting to remove the secular government of Turkey and replace it with an Islamic government." Do you understand the charges against you which are contained in the Indictment against you?

A: Yes, I do.

Q: And were you served a copy of that Indictment?

A: It had been served to my attorneys.

Q: And have you read the Indictment against you?

A: Yes, I have.

Q: And do you understand what you are being charged with?

A: Yes, I do.

Q: Do you wish to make any statements with regard to that indictment?

A: I say that the indictment is without ground, that the truth has been deformed.

Q: Do you wish to answer any questions concerning that indictment?

A: I partially have prepared some statements in response to that, and along those lines I would like to express also my thoughts pertaining to that.

Q: And the statements that you have prepared in advance of today have been reduced to writing?

A: Our defense in response to the Indictment has been put in writing in a brief concise way as here.

Q: And that's a document of approximately sixty pages?

A: Fifty-six.

Q: A document of approximately fifty-six pages?

A: Yes, fifty-six pages.

Q: Which you are prepared to sign and have notarized that it is your signature to that statement?

A: Yes, I'm ready to sign it as my own statement.

Q: Do you wish to make any statement in addition to that fifty-six page signed statement?

A: If you present me with any questions, I am willing to answer them.

Q: Do you wish that I ask you questions so that you can respond to those questions in your defense?

A: It seems to be in the spirit of this matter, and I presume it will be in line with the procedure. I think that's what you wish me to do also.

Q: But it is entirely your decision as to whether or not you wish to make a statement orally at this time.

A: I am willing to go with whatever is your wish, and I think also your counterpart, the prosecution in Turkey, also wants that somehow.

Q: All right. But you have to understand, it has nothing to do with my wishes. It has only to do with your wishes, whether you wish to make any statements today in response to the Indictment that charges you with the crime.

A: In order to bring this to a closure, I think in the spirit of this matter, maybe it has to be proceeded that certain things have to be answered or covered.

Mr. Repetto: Okay, Let me go off the record here.

(Discussion off the record.)

Q: Mr. Gülen, I assume from your answers that you are willing to answer questions that I would put to you?

A: Yes, it's correct.

Q: If at any point in my asking those questions you wish to not answer and invoke your right to silence, you may do so. The fact that you start answering questions does not mean that you have to continue to answer questions. At any point you can exercise your right to silence. Do you understand?

A: Yes, I do.

Q: Okay. Do you belong to an organization?

A: I have never been a member of any organization.

Q: Do you lead an organization?

A: I have nothing to do with any organization and I had nothing to do with its direction or leadership.

Q: Has there been any organization that was formed on your behalf that you know of?

A: I have no relationship with any such organization, and I do not know any such organization.

Q: Do you, yourself, have any political aspirations?

A: I have only one aspiration, and that is with the consent or permission of God to explain to investigate or research the consent or permission of God, and with that permission to explain the holy God's in the holy God's name.

Q: Okay. The next question will probably take care of this.

Mr. KALYONCU: Off the record for one minute.

(Discussion off the record.)

Q- Have you sought to put yourself or other people in the government?

A: No. Just on the contrary, in my experience throughout the past thirty years when I was speaking from the pulpit in the mosques. I have been accused by others of being too statist and sort of ...

Mr. KALYONCU: Pro state and pro government.

A: And also declaring it as the holy -- to make the state appear almost holy.

Q: But that doesn't answer the question. Have you sought to put yourself or to put others in the government?

A: I have never had any such goal or attempt, but my wish has been that I have always wanted that people of good honor and dignity and moral stature come to positions in government, otherwise I have had no other attempts or strivings.

Q: Well, have you sought to replace people who were in government?

The interpreter: You meaning yourself?

Mr. Repetto: Has he sought to replace other people who were in the government?

A: It wouldn't even occur to me. I wouldn't even think of it, not even in my dreams. And if I may add as an explanation, when I was twenty-five years old, I was offered right in front of my door at my feet to be e member of Parliament and I chose to be close to God, do God's will instead of take that position.

Mr. Kalyoncu: Off the record here.

(Discussion off the record.)

Q: Next question. Do you seek to change or replace the secular nature of the government?

A: I have never had any such intention. I have never even thought about anything like that.

Q: Have you ever sought the replacement of the Constitution of the state of Turkey?

A: That subject has also never crossed my mind. I've never thought of it.

Q: Do you seek or have you ever sought to bring religion, by that I mean Islamic tenets, into the operation of the government?

A: Not in the slightest and quite on the contrary, I have deemed that to be disrespectful of religion.

Q: Have you ever sought or do you seek to overthrow the government of Turkey?

A: Absolutely, definitely no.

Q: Have you or have you not: yes or no?

A: Absolutely, definitely no.

Q: Have you videotaped speeches?

The Interpreter: His speeches or anybody else's?

Mr. Repetto: His speeches.

A: I did not. Other people were videotaping.

Q: In any of the speeches that were videotaped, have you advocated the replacement of the secular government of Turkey?

A: I did not say any word to that effect, because if I had, I would have been prosecuted, and I know that for sure because I've been preaching for forty years.

Q: I'll repeat the question. In any of the videotaped speeches, have you advocated the replacement of the secular government of Turkey, yes no?

A: No. never, absolutely not.

Q: Has anybody on your behalf established schools in Turkey and elsewhere?

A: Not on my behalf. Not on my behalf, but with promotion or encouragement maybe they have, because they know I appreciate education, and where they have opened schools I don't know.

Q: Do you have any role in the teachings in those schools?

A: Absolutely not. I have nothing to do with it.

Q: Are you responsible for what is taught in those schools?

A: No, not me. The government is responsible. It's happening under the supervision of the government.

Q: To your knowledge, is the replacement of the secular government of Turkey taught in those schools?

A: The Ministry of Education of Turkey is inspecting those schools. Up till now, no such thing has been determined or established.

Q: The question was whether in your knowledge, in your knowledge, is the replacement of the secular government of Turkey taught in those schools?

A: I don't know the schools. I've never been to the schools. I've never gone there.

Q: Are you a successor to Said-i Nursi?

A: Definitely not.

Q: Do you believe personally that the secular government of Turkey should be replaced?

A: I don't.

Q: Do you believe the Constitution of Turkey should be replaced?

A: I have not thought of anything like that, never.

Q: Do you believe that the government of Turkey ought to be founded on the basis of religious rules, particularly those of Islam?

A: What do you mean I believe in?

Q: All right. Now, I'm going to ask if you -- I have finished my questions. I'm going to ask if you have any statements you wish to make beyond the questions that I've asked you in this deposition. But before you answer, I will give you some time with your lawyers to determine the answer to the question.

(A brief recess is taken.)

Q: I've just been informed that you do wish to make some additional comments, but the general nature of those comments are contained in the written statement that you wish to have submitted as part of this deposition to supplement the questions that I've asked and you've answered. Is that correct?

A: Yes.

Q: And the statement that you are submitting that is contained in fifty-six pages is your statement?

A: I request that this personal document of mine be incorporated as part of the prosecution or investigation.

Q: Yes, as part of this deposition, and we will gladly accept that as part of this deposition. But I want to establish that this is your statement and that it is your statement in response to the indictment 2000/124.

A: It's my own statement.

Q: And it's in response to indictment 2000/124?

A: Yes.

Q: Okay. We will accept that statement. And what I would ask is that statement be signed, and it will be notarized by someone from our office. Are you prepared to do that?

A: Yes.

Q: I'm going to bring the notary in.

Mr. Repetto: We're off the record.

(Discussion off the record.)

(The statement is signed and notarized) 

The U.S. Attorney's Office, Newark, NJ, 6.11.2001

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