At a time when the Turkish government has been waging an all-out war on the faith-based Gülen movement, the country’s prime minister, Binali Yıldırım, has accused the movement of carrying out an operation to ruin the Turkish economy.
“Since it failed to make its golden shot on July 15, this vile FETÖ is now conducting an unbelievable operation with all its power to ruin the economy, change the perception [about the economy], discourage foreign investors and change their perception about Turkey,” Yıldırım said during a TV program on the state-run TRT on Thursday evening.
“FETÖ” is a derogatory term and acronym for the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization, coined by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government to refer to the Gülen movement, which Erdoğan and the AKP accuse of masterminding a failed coup attempt on July 15. The movement strongly denies having any role in the coup attempt.
The military coup attempt on July 15 killed over 240 people and wounded more than a thousand others. Immediately after the putsch, the government along with President Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.
Despite Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, whose views inspired the movement, and the movement having denied the accusation, Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government launched 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 115,000 people have been purged from state bodies, in excess of 90,000 detained and over 39,000 have been arrested since the coup attempt. Arrestees include journalists, judges, prosecutors, police and military officers, academics, governors and even a comedian. Critics argue that lists of Gülen sympathizers were drawn up prior to the coup attempt.
The Turkish lira has weakened 9 percent against the US dollar this month, setting new records every day and raising widespread concern about an imminent economic crisis.