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EP discusses transparency call for Hizmet

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A European Parliament (EP) committee discussed on Wednesday a proposal, calling on the Hizmet movement to increase transparency, a call backed by the movement.

The proposal has been tabled as a proposed amendment to an annual report on EU candidate Turkey, drafted by Dutch Christian Democrat Ria Oomen-Ruijten. The measure, known as the 87th amendment proposal, was taken up at the Committee on Foreign Affairs.

The proposal both criticizes the way the government handled a corruption investigation involving ministers and businessmen close to the government and calls on the Hizmet movement to increase its transparency.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has dismissed corruption accusations and called the investigation a “coup attempt” by the Hizmet movement, inspired by teachings of Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen and foreign collaborators.

German Liberal parliamentarian Alexander Graf Lambsdorff defended the measure during the debate at the Committee on Foreign Affairs, saying it would be useful if representatives of the Hizmet movement would brief the European Parliament. He cited the case of journalist Ahmet Şık, who is facing trial in the Ergenekon coup case and was invited to the EP to talk about his case.

But rapporteur Oomen-Ruijten appeared to be opposed to the idea, saying the Parliament’s interlocutor is none other than the Turkish government.

The proposal, tabled by members of European Parliament (MEP) Andrew Duff, Marietje Schaake, Sarah Ludford and Ivo Vajgl, seems unlikely to be cleared by Parliament. EP sources talking to Today’s Zaman said other political groups in the EP are not inclined to vote for the 87th amendment proposal because majority of MEPs believe that the government should be under the spotlight for its interventions to derail the corruption probe.

The government has ordered the reassignment of thousands of police officers and scores of judges and prosecutors after the investigation went under way on Dec. 17.

In a letter dated Jan. 20 that was sent to all members of the EP, the Brussels-based Intercultural Dialogue Platform (IDP), whose honorary president is Gülen, stated that it welcomes calls upon the Hizmet movement to improve its transparency and accountability.

The letter said that the Hizmet movement had not received any such official call from the EP, but that it continues to invite and welcome scrutiny as it has in the past.