Erdoğan calls for witch-hunt within his own party

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President of Turkey and Chairman of the Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party), Recep Tayyip Erdoğan greets the crowd during Enlarged Province Consultation Council meeting organized by the party's provincial branch at Expo Congress Center in Antalya, Turkey on August 13, 2017. Turkish Presidency / Murat Cetinmuhurdar / Handout / Anadolu Agency

Turkish President and Chairman of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Sunday called for a heightened witch-hunt against people in his party linked to the Gülen movement.

“We will not harbor people linked to FETÖ [a derogatory term coined by the AKP government to refer to members of the Gülen movement] under the roof of our party,” said Erdoğan during a speech to party members in Antalya province.

“Inform us about the people linked to FETÖ. We have to immediately expel them,” added Erdoğan.

Turkey survived a military coup attempt on July 15 that killed 249 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’s Justice Ministry announced on July 13 that 50,510 people have been arrested and 169,013 have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup.

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

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