Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu (Photo: Today’s Zaman)
KAMİL ARLI / ISTANBUL
Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has filed charges against Zaman newspaper writer Ali Bulaç demanding the publication of Bulaç’s book be halted. Davutoğlu has accused the writer of falsely attributing a quote to him that he did not make.
Davutoğlu is also suing Bulaç for TL 10,000 in compensation for emotional damages over Bulaç’s book, which is entitled “Politics and Religion.” In his petition, Davutoğlu demanded either a halt to the book’s publication or the redaction of the parts in which he is quoted.
The statement in question was published by a number of newspapers and websites on Jan. 11, 2014, including the pro-government newspapers Sabah, Takvim and Star. Other newspapers, such as Hürriyet and Taraf, also published the same quote.
Bulaç, a sociologist and a theologian, questioned why Davutoğlu is perceived as an intellectual academic rather than a political diplomat: “I find it odd that, as an intellectual, he is seeking to halt the publication of the book or censor its words. This wasn’t something I expected. I have never been sued over any of my books before.” Bulaç said, however, that he has previously appeared in court on charges relating to thought crimes. “I have been tried 11 times for my opinions.”
Cemal Araalan, a lawyer for Davutoğlu, submitted a petition on June 29 on behalf of his client to the Ankara Court of Law on the grounds that Bulaç’s latest book includes statements attributed to Davutoğlu that the foreign minister did not uttered. Davutoğlu is quoted in the book as saying: “We have a state tradition. That’s how it was in the Ottoman Empire. Even one’s children would be sacrificed for the state. Today, it is impossible for us to accept a structure that might damage the state. We will not allow the state to be overtaken.” His lawyer claims the statement does not belong to Davutoğlu.
Bulaç’s book, “Politics and Religion,” focuses on systems that cannot serve as political models for Islam. The author also investigates the relationship between religion and the state in the modern era, as well as the nature of politics. Many political ideologies including democracy, totalitarianism, nationalism and liberalism are discussed in the book within the context of modernity.