About the picture taken at the “Wailing Wall”

During the first trial, right after I did explain why I will not defend myself but remain silent and will not answer any questions, the court’s first question to me was about a picture of me which was taken by the “Wailing Wall.” I still do not understand what this question bore to the charges leveled against me in the trial.

However, this matter is still being used by some people on social media intensely. Legal measures are been taken for those that are necessary. In addition to that, the release of the following statement has become an obligation.

One of the reasons that Islam is the final and most perfect religion is because it views religion solely as a matter between God and the individual. For that reason, where do those who dare to intervene between God and his creatures derive this authority from?

Judaism is one of the Abrahamic religions, and the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem is a sacred place.

Do the ignorant individuals who propound that everyone who visits this sacred place could be Jewish also think that everyone who visits the Sultanahmet Mosque in Istanbul and pray there are Muslims, too?

I take pride in my Turkish and Muslim identity, and I also paid a visit to the al-Aqsa Mosque during the same trip to Jerusalem and felt relieved.

That I take pride in my Turkish and Muslim identity, however, does not bestow upon me the right to belittle or question other people of different ethnic roots or religious faiths, regardless of whether they are this citizens of this country or not. Everyone ought to be able to vaunt and take pride in being a member of the Turkish nation and their own ethnic roots and religious faith.

As far as I am concerned, questioning people’s faith and ethnic roots constitutes a crime against humanity.

Gen. (Ret.) M. İlker Başbuğ

(The first question directed to the former general by the investigating court reportedly concerned a photo of him standing in front of the Wailing Wall, which appeared in an extreme right-wing daily in 2008 under the title “A Civil Servant at the Wailing Wall.” – Hurriyet Daily News)