Gov’t reportedly excludes Gülen followers from across-the-board debt restructuring

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Naci Ağbal

The government has reportedly taken yet another step to segregate the Gülen movement from society with Finance Minister Naci Ağbal ordering tax offices to exclude people linked to Turkey’s new scapegoat from a recently announced debt restructuring program.

The Turkish government accuses the movement of not only masterminding a July 15 coup attempt but also of many other incidents that have jeopardized Turkey’s image in the not-so-distant past including Moody’s sovereign credit rating downgrade, the downing of a Russian warplane last year and the Gezi protests of 2013. While the Gülen movement denies any involvement, people linked to it are discriminated against at both the state level and among the society – also stirred up by top government officials.

According to the TR724 news platform Minister Ağbal has ordered tax offices to deny tax clearance certificates to people implicated in anti-movement investigations and to those who are publicly known to be supporters of the movement.

The government passed a bill concerning across-the-board restructuring of state receivables in August. Turkish citizens who pay off their accrued tax obligations from the period before June 30 or restructure them up to certain amount are entitled to obtain a tax clearance certificate.

TR724 claimed that citizens affiliated with the movement have been deprived of such an opportunity in Ağbal’s instructions. According to his orders, the movement’s followers will not be given tax clearance certificates, and liens on their properties will not be revoked even if they pay off all their tax liabilities.

The move came as the latest of similar steps. Earlier, the government cancelled the passports of thousands and confiscated the properties of many others over their alleged ties to the Gülen movement. Local land registry and cadaster offices blocked thousands of transactions for the sale and conveyance of properties if vendors or purchasers are suspected of links to the movement. With the president last week threatening supporters of the movement overseas with revocation of their Turkish citizenship, many small business owners were reported to have refused to serve Gülen-linked customers. (Turkey Purge)

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