Victims Of July 15 Coup Attempt Demand Right To Sue US For Sheltering Gülen
A new controversial US law that allows survivors of terror attacks and victims’ relatives to sue foreign governments passed on last week, paves the way for new debate whether individuals can sue foreign governments in their countries and what would be its consequences.
The Saudi Arabia firmly denies it had anything to do with the September 11, and warned that new law will cause “disastrous consequences” for relations between the allies.
Apart from the Kingdom, numerous other politician and government argued that the law not appropriate with international law, including US President himself. Obama has criticized that the bill would open U.S. military personnel and officials to lawsuits by foreign governments.
Before the law passed, on Sept. 21, The European Union (EU) delegation to the United States called on President Obama “to act in order to prevent the JASTA bill from becoming law,” and said that they concern about the measure’s effect on foreign sovereign immunity. Also, French Foreign Ministry Spokesman Romain Nadal said France and European countries consider JASTA as contravening international law.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also condemned the law and said “It’s against the principle of individual criminal responsibility for crimes. We expect this false step to be reversed as soon as possible.”
The decision also started a new debate in Turkey, whether victims of the failed 15 July coup attempt, which masterminded by U.S. based Fetullah Gülen and seen as terrorist act by Turkish government, can sue U.S if similar bill would pass by Turkish parliament.
“Fetullah Gülen, the mastermind of the coup attempt in 15 July, is the state enemy in Turkey for his activities and long-running campaign to overthrown democratically-elected government; and one of the top figures of Turkey’s most wanted terrorist list. So there is no reason for us to not sue U.S. government for same reason their citizens sue Saudi Arabia,” said Zeynep Bayramoğlu, a journalist and Vice Director of the July 15 Foundation, established to support sufferers and relatives of coup attempt’s victim. Bayramoğlu said that the coup attempt undoubtedly was a terrorist act against Turkish state and its citizens, and its leader Fetullah Gülen, is a green card owner, who was referenced by two former CIA officers, Graham Fuller and George Fidas for his Green Card application in 2007. “Fetullah Gülen lives in Pennsylvania and has been protected by the U.S. I guess this situation constitutes the same crime that pointed in U.S.’s law,” said Bayramoğlu.
Meanwhile, a lobbyist group named ‘Arab Project in Iraq’ makes pressure to the country’s parliament to ask for US compensation due to Iraqi war by taking JASTA into account, Al Arabiya reported on Saturday.
“Surely, we will sue U.S. government if our government prepares a likewise bill because FETÖ is the terrorist organization,” said Fatih Öztürk, a victim of failed 15 July coup attempt, whose foot wounded by a bullet of putschist soldiers on the Bosporus Bridge.
Another victim, Taha Kurt, a student wounded also in the Bosphorus Bridge, said that he can also act against U.S. government, who is harboring Fetullah Gülen. “I am following the recent news regarding the bill. If Turkey takes action, I can appeal to court against U.S,” Kurt said.
The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly on Sept. 29 to approve legislation that will allow the families of those killed in the 2001 attacks on the United States to seek damages from the Saudi government. Riyadh has always dismissed suspicions that it backed the attackers, who killed nearly 3,000 people under the banner of militant group al-Qaeda. Fifteen out of the 19 hijackers were Saudi nationals.