Ankara municipality changes street names recalling Gülen

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The capital city of Ankara has changed the names of streets and avenues that bear the last name of Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, who is accused by the Turkish government of mounting a botched coup attempt on July 15, 2016, a claim the movement strongly denies, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported on Thursday.

According to a statement by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP)-run Ankara Metropolitan Municipality, seven streets and avenues in various districts of the capital were renamed after a decision by the Municipal Council and approval of the governor’s office.

Streets and avenues named “Gülen” were renamed “Homeland,” “Crescent,” “Redflag,” “Motherland,” “Flag,” “Resurrection” and “Kayı.”

Last year the AKP-run Kocaeli Metropolitan Municipality rejected a leasing company’s proposal to lease cars to be used for municipal services due to the license plates of the cars bearing the initials of Fethullah Gülen.

In August 2016, license plates that included the letters “FG” were removed from vehicles belonging to the Denizli Courthouse. The vehicles are still sitting in front of the courthouse waiting for new plates to be attached.

The AKP government even banned mathematics textbooks due to questions involving the initials of Islamic scholar Gülen.

“A textbook was banned just because it features Gülen’s initials in a practice question that reads: ‘… from point F to point G …’. It has become a paranoia. Public money is being squandered,” main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Deputy Chairman Osman Budak said in a statement to a daily in October 2016.

In September 2016 Turkey’s Education Ministry said it would republish 58 state-distributed textbooks in order to eliminate any subliminal messages from what the government calls the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ).

The same month Turkey’s Sivas University pulled off the shelf of its libraries all copies of books written by Gülen and his alleged supporters and destroyed them with a shredder.

Last year the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK)  fined the Kanal D television channel for airing footage that shows a book linked to the faith-based Gülen movement.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his ruling AKP government pursued a crackdown on the Gülen movement following corruption operations in December 2013 in which the inner circle of the government and then-Prime Minister Erdoğan were implicated.

Erdoğan also accuses the Gülen movement of masterminding a failed coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016.

Despite the movement strongly denying involvement in the failed coup, Erdoğan launched a witch-hunt targeting the movement following the putsch.

According to a report issued by European Commission (EC) on April 17, 2018, over 150,000 people have been taken into custody, 78,000 arrested and over 110,000 civil servants have been dismissed since July 2016.

Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu stated last year that 234,419 passports have been revoked, eight holdings and 1,020 companies were seized as part of investigations into the movement since the failed coup.

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