Remarks made by Justice and Development Party (AKP) Deputy Chairman Yasin Aktay on Thursday sparked a debate over a “civilian coup” among Turkey’s remaining critical media as he said that had it not been for a coup attempt on July 15, no legal measures could have been taken against the Gülen (Hizmet) movement.
Calling the Gülen movement “FETÖ” to describe it as a terrorist organization, Aktay said that they as a party realized that the Gülen movement was an illegal structure after Dec. 17, 2013, the date major corruption investigations first emerged implicating members of the AKP government including then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Holding the Gülen movement responsible for the investigations, since then Erdoğan has been waging a war against the movement.
In an effort to defend his party and disassociate itself from the movement, Aktay said that until Dec. 17 all activities of the Gülen movement were legal. “Had they not committed the coup attempt on July 15, we would not have the opportunity to take measures against them.” Aktay went on to say what several Turkish online news media sites considered a “confession” of a planned purge against the movement.
Aktay made these remarks while denying accusations of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) that there are two ministers and 40 deputies within the AKP who used the ByLock application. ByLock, a smart phone messaging application, by itself is a reason for arrest and “evidence” of links to the Gülen movement since the coup attempt in today’s Turkey.