A Twitter user known by the pseudonym Fuat Avni, who has revealed many government-backed police operations and shady plans to the public, has claimed that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has ordered a plot that aims to show the faith-based Gülen movement linked to the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Erdoğan and the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government launched an all-out war against the Gülen movement after a corruption investigation targeting people in Erdoğan’s inner circle became public with a wave of detentions on Dec. 17, 2013. Erdoğan accused police officers, judges and prosecutors he claimed are linked with Gülen movement, which is inspired by Turkish-Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, of being behind the investigation, which he branded a “coup attempt.” The movement strongly denies Erdoğan’s allegation.
In successive Tweets posted on Wednesday, Avni said: “Photos and books of [Fethullah] Gülen are being placed in houses where pro-PKK students stay while photos and books of [jailed PKK leader Abdullah] Öcalan are being placed in [student] houses run by the Gülen movement. Many houses run by the movement have been listed in many provinces being mainly in Şanlıurfa. The groundwork of a police operation is being prepared.”
The PKK, which has been waging a bloody war in Turkey’s southeast since 1984, is listed as a terrorist organization not only by Turkey, but also by the US and the EU. A settlement process between the PKK and the AK Party government which aimed to resolve Turkey’s long-standing Kurdish problem ended last summer, reigniting the worst violence in the country’s southeast since 1990s.
President Erdoğan is seeking to show the Gülen movement, which is known for its promotion of educational activities, charity work and inter-faith dialogue, as a terrorist organization despite the absence of any court decision to this effect.
On the contrary, Turkish-Islamic scholar Gülen is known to be a vocal critic of those who commit acts of violence no matter for what purpose.
As part of the government’s war on the Gülen movement, many individuals have been arrested and business places and organizations have been either shut down or taken over by the government on the grounds that they support terrorism.
In a move that attracted worldwide condemnation last month, the AK Party government took over the Feza Media Group, which includes Turkey’s best-selling Zaman newspaper as well as Today’s Zaman newspaper, Aksiyon magazine and Cihan News Agency on the grounds that the group was making the PKK propaganda.
Following the apparently politically-motivated operation, trustees changed the critical editorial stance of the news outlets and turned them into government mouthpieces in addition to firing hundreds of critical journalists from these media outlets.
In his tweets, Avni also said Erdoğan came up with this plot when his aides told him that nobody believes in the claim about the Gülen movement being a terrorist organization.
The Twitter user also claimed that Erdoğan would ensure stripping off nationality of dissidents including members of the Gülen movement and seize their assets.
According to Avni, the president wants to ride on fear factor to secure executive presidency and wants to deepen chaos further in the country to achieve his goal.
A switch to presidential system has been on Turkey’s agenda for the past several years with President Erdoğan being its most ardent supporter. Erdoğan has made it no secret that he wants to become Turkey’s first president under a presidential system. The post of the president is currently largely ceremonial in Turkey. Erdoğan wants to enjoy more executive powers.
Avni claimed head of National Intelligence Organization (MİT) Hakan Fidan moved Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)-type militants into operational phase to deepen chaos.
Turkey has been shaken by many ISIL attacks since last July in which as many as 150 people have been killed.