Deputy PM hints at Gülen movement role in credit downgrading

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Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Nurettin Canikli argued on Saturday that the Gülen movement could have played a role in Moody’s downgrading of the country’s sovereign credit rating to non-investment grade, reaching new heights in holding the movement responsible for any and every problem Turkey experiences.

 

Sharing a series of messages on Twitter, the minister said he had received an “intelligence report” warning against an attempt by “FETÖ,” a term that the government coined to disparage the Gülen movement as a terrorist organization, to put Turkey in a difficult position between Sept. 21-23, 2016. According to Canikli, Gülen movement members talked about their expectations, but it is unclear if they were referring to Moody’s decision to downgrade Turkey’s sovereign credit rating. The intelligence report is dated Sept. 10, the minister added.

 

After hinting at a Gülen movement role in Moody’s decision, Canikli described the decision as “irrational” and lacking an objective and scientific framework.

 

The Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, which launched a war against the Gülen movement following the eruption of a corruption scandal in late 2013 in which senior government members were implicated, carried its ongoing crackdown on the movement and its sympathizers to a new level after a failed coup attempt on July 15 that killed 240 people and injured a thousand others.

 

Although the movement strongly denies having any role in the putsch, the government accuses it of having masterminded the foiled coup despite lack of any tangible evidence.

 

Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen called for an international investigation into the coup attempt, but President Recep Tayyip 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.

More than 100,000 people have been purged from state bodies, nearly 43,000 detained and 24,000 arrested since the coup attempt. Arrestees included journalists, judges, prosecutors, police and military officers, academics, governors and even a comedian.

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