US-based Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, who is accused by the Turkish government and president of masterminding a failed coup in Turkey last year, on Sunday said government circles that have scapegoated him and his movement for all the crimes in Turkey are planning to assassinate prominent people in Turkey and put the blame on him and his followers.
In a video shared Sunday night on the Herkul.org website, where his speeches are aired, Gülen said after a graft probe in 2013 and the July 15 coup attempt, government circles are now planning to pin the blame on him and his movement, also known as Hizmet, for the planned assassination of several famous figures in Turkey.
Underlining that dark power circles around the government were not successful in convincing people and especially the international community of Hizmet followers being behind the failed coup last year, Gülen said they have prepared a serious plan to assassinate important people in Turkey and link it to him in order to turn people against the movement.
“Now others [government circles] are thinking: ‘So what should we do now? We need something more serious, we need to assassinate a few very important people, and finish them [Hizmet followers] off’,” he said.
“Do you understand what I’m talking about here? I’m telling you of things that are being talked about by everyone, things plotted behind closed doors but now being uttered publicly. They’re saying, ‘Let us take care of [assassinate] a few important names, stir up some commotion in such a way that people will surely view it as a ‘coup,’ and thus we will have fooled all those who haven’t already been convinced.
“From now on, in one sense, they must find an excuse to be able to get away with the things they want to get away with. And for the sake of that excuse, there’s no limit to the degree of mischief they are willing to undertake.
“In that respect, those who stand before the door of the Almighty, those who wish to knock on His door of Mercy, must bear in mind that awful things may be awaiting them in the near future, and they must move forward with sharp intellect, foresight and vigilance,” he said.
On Saturday Turkish Minute columnist Abdullah Bozkurt wrote that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is now contemplating orchestrating assassinations at home targeting high-profile figures and murders abroad to intimidate and silence his critics in exile.
“By doing so, Erdoğan will keep undermining the independent opposition groups that he has failed to coopt with incentives such as money and positions in the government or could not scare through intimidation. This is crucial for his rule leading up to the 2019 presidential and parliamentary elections that are key for his survival given the worsening economic outlook, growing security challenges in Turkey and its neighborhood and festering antagonism among various social and ethnic groups,” Bozkurt said.
When a major graft scandal erupted in December 2013, Erdoğan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) claimed that the investigations were carried out by police officers and members of the judiciary who were affiliated with the Gülen movement. Erdoğan called the probes “coup attempts against his government” and torpedoed the investigations by purging and jailing most of the police officers, prosecutors and judges who oversaw the graft probes.
When some putschist soldiers attempted a military coup on July 15, 2016, Erdoğan immediately blamed Gülen for being behind the coup and launched a wide-scale witch-hunt against Hizmet followers.