İsmail Hakkı Pekin, a former intelligence chief of the Turkish General Staff, has suggested that Turkey make use of tactics it used against Armenian militant group the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA) and those employed by Israeli intelligence agency MOSSAD against Nazis in order to assassinate followers of the faith-based Gülen movement abroad.
Pekin’s remarks were published by Turkey’s Milliyet daily in its Monday edition.
The Turkish government has been waging a war against the Gülen movement since the eruption of a corruption scandal in late 2013, which culminated in an all-out war in the aftermath of a coup attempt on July 15, 2016. The government claims both the corruption probes and the failed coup were masterminded by the movement, while the movement strongly denies any involvement in either.
Pekin said Fethullah Gülen, whose views inspired the movement and who has been living in the US since 1999, and Gülen followers abroad should be brought to Turkey by force, and if they cannot be brought from countries like the US and Germany, then they should be assassinated where they reside by means of operations to be carried out by Turkey.
“Like those against ASALA, like what MOSSAD did to the Nazis… Each of them [operations] will be planned one by one, the individuals will be named and listed. You can even do this by offering a reward [to the killers], but you should do that, anyhow. What they did not should not go unpunished. Otherwise, we cannot get out of it,” Pekin said.
ASALA, which killed dozens of Turkish diplomats in the 1980s, is believed to have been crushed by Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT).
According to the former intelligence chief, the Gülen movement cannot be exterminated in Turkey in just a few years, so a command center should be established for the fight against the movement.
Over the past months, in a move that horrified many, several pro-government figures have also called for the assassination of the Gülen followers abroad.
Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Garo Paylan on Dec. 20 said he had confirmed intelligence that exiled opponents of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, including Alevi and Armenian leaders, journalists and academics, would be exposed to assassination or a series of assassinations in Europe, CNN Türk reported.
Paylan’s statement came days after pro-Erdoğan journalists threatened Gülen movement members living in exile.
Aydın Ünal, a former speechwriter of President Erdoğan and current Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy, threatened Turkish journalists in exile with extrajudicial killings in a column published on Dec. 4 in the pro-Erdoğan Yeni Şafak daily.
The AKP deputy listed the names of journalists to be targeted: Ekrem Dumanlı, Adem Yavuz Arslan, Celil Sağır, Bülent Keneş, Abdülhamit Bilici, Erhan Başyurt, Emre Uslu, Akın İpek and Can Dündar.
Pro-government Yeni Şafak daily columnist Hikmet Genç, a staunch supporter of Erdoğan, said on Dec. 14 that followers of the faith-based Gülen movement, who are blamed by the Turkish government for the failed coup last year, will soon not be able walk freely in the US, threatening them by saying, “Don’t rest at easy at night.”
In a TV program on Dec. 20, 2016, another pro-Erdoğan columnist, Cem Küçük, called for the assassination of exiled journalists Ekrem Dumanlı, Emre Uslu, İhsan Yılmaz, Abdullah Bozkurt and other journalists living in exile linked with media close to the Gülen movement.
“Shoot them in the head,” Küçük had said.
On Dec. 12, 2017 Küçük along with journalist Fuat Uğur said Turkish intelligence should kill family members of jailed Gülen followers in order to turn the inmates into operatives for the Erdoğan regime.