Erdoğan calls for expanded witch hunt against Gülen followers

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President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan gestures as he speaks within "Istanbul Exchanges Greetings" event organised by AK Party's Istanbul Province Branch during Eid al-Fitr in Istanbul, Turkey on June 25, 2017. Arif Hudaverdi Yaman / Anadolu Agency

Having purged more than 150,000 people from state jobs and jailed over 50,000 due to alleged links to the faith-based Gülen movement, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Sunday called on people to inform on activities of Gülen followers, saying that if they fail to do so, they will be held responsible.

“Wherever you know of or find a member of FETÖ [a derogatory term coined by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government and Erdoğan to refer to members of the Gülen movement] you will report them to us. If you do not inform us, you will held be responsible,” said Erdoğan during an event organized by the İstanbul branch of his AKP to mark Eid al-Fitr.

“We will hold those who divide the Ummah to account,” he added.

Turkey survived a military coup attempt on July 15 that killed over 240 people and wounded more than a thousand others. Immediately after the putsch, the AKP government along with President Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the 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.

Turkey has suspended or dismissed more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police officers and civil servants since July 15.

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.

The AKP government has seized a total of 942 companies with a total value of TL 40.5 billion since the failed coup attempt, according to a statement from Deputy Prime Minister Nurettin Canikli.

The total equity capital of the seized companies is TL18.1 billion, while their combined turnover is TL 21.5 billion, according to a Savings Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF) report.

Together the seized companies employ a workforce of 44,868.

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