Turkish President Erdoğan reiterates ‘sooner or later we will get Fethullan Gülen’ – Stockholm Center for Freedom

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan reiterated on Tuesday that US-based Turkish Muslim scholar Fethullah Gülen will be brought to Turkey “sooner or later.”

Speaking at his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) parliamentary group meeting in Ankara, Erdoğan reiterated that a total of 80 members of the Gülen movement abroad have been brought back to Turkey so far. “The situation of the head of these terrorists, who feels safe in Pennsylvania, will not be different. Sooner or later we will get to him,” threatened Erdoğan.

Erdoğan has also claimed that the followers of the Gülen movement “betrayed this country” and threatened that “they will get a befitting response.”

“Members of the movement would be punished whether they intended evil or not,” said Erdoğan and added that “Those who act with terrorists, in our eyes, are no different to terrorists. If some have mistakenly fallen in with them, I’m sorry, but when the time comes they will find themselves accounting for it in court. We are bringing justice to FETÖ’s critical men at home and abroad.”

“FETÖ” is a derogatory term used by Turkish government and President Erdoğan for Gülen movement.

Erdoğan had also praised on Sunday the abduction of people allegedly linked to the Gülen movement by Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT) and said that Fethullah Gülen will be brought to Turkey as well. “We have brought 80 FETÖ members [to Turkey] from abroad to date. We will be after the others. You, in Pennsylvania, you will be brought here, too. It does not matter how much you move around,” said Erdoğan during his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) meeting in İstanbul.

Osman Özpınar, İbrahim Akbaş and Adnan Demirönal were caught in Gabon in a MİT operation and taken to Turkey by private jet last week. Also, on March 29, MİT abducted six Turkish nationals linked to the Gülen movement from Kosovo.

Meanwhile, an İstanbul court on Tuesday handed down aggravated life sentences to 12 military officers including generals for their alleged involvement in the controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016. The İstanbul 14th High Criminal Court convicted the military officers on charges of violating the constitution.

Turkey survived a controversial military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed 249 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, strongly denied having any role in the failed coup and called for an international investigation into it, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

Turkey has suspended or dismissed more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police and other civil servants since July 2016. Turkey’s interior minister announced on December 12, 2017 that 55,665 people have been arrested. On December 13, the Justice Ministry announced that 169,013 people have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup.

A total of 48,305 people were arrested by courts across Turkey in 2017 over their alleged links to the Gülen movement, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said on Dec. 2, 2017. “The number of detentions is nearly three times higher,” Soylu told a security meeting in İstanbul and claimed that “even these figures are not enough to reveal the severity of the issue.”

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