Journalists Cem Küçük and Fuat Uğur, staunch supporters of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, made a call on Thursday for the assassination of followers of the faith-based Gülen movement who are abroad, during a live broadcast on the TGRT news channel.
The Gülen movement is accused by the Turkish government of masterminding a failed coup attempt on July 15, a claim the movement strongly denies.
Uğur quoted İsmail Hakkı Pekin, former intelligence chief of the General Staff, who had said on the Habertürk TV station, “Those from FETÖ [a derogatory term used by government circles to refer to the Gülen movement] who have committed a betrayal and fled abroad should be exterminated, and that is the responsibility of the Republic of Turkey,” and Uğur added that he totally agrees with him.
Küçük, a staunchly pro-government journalist known for his attacks on government critics on social media, suggested that Justice and Development Party (AKP) supporters living overseas were willing to carry out the assassinations and that the Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MİT) has the authority to carry out such acts outside the country. Küçük added that Turks living abroad were willing to sacrifice themselves and that they know where Gülen followers are living.
“Look how England and the US are killing people. They can make the executions look like a heart attack or a car accident. Why do the hearts of those FETÖ people never stop?” he continued.
Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the Gülen movement, strongly denied having any role in the failed coup and called for an international investigation into it, but President 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.
According to a report by the state-run Anadolu news agency on May 28, 154,694 individuals have been detained and 50,136 have been jailed due to alleged Gülen links since the failed coup attempt.
Due to the ongoing witch-hunt against the Gülen movement, thousands of Gülen followers had to leave Turkey and seek refuge abroad to avoid government persecution.