Fenerbahçe chairman says 100,000 people smeared him as Gülenist to prevent his election

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ISTANBUL, TURKEY - JUNE 2: Fenerbahce Presidential candidate Ali Koc speaks during the Fenerbahce Club Selective Ordinary General assembly at Ulker Stadium in Istanbul, Turkey on June 2, 2018. Emrah Yorulmaz / Anadolu Agency

Ali Koç, the chairman of Fenerbahçe, one of Turkey’s leading sports clubs, said on Thursday that in the run-up to elections for the club’s leadership some 100,000 people called him a “Gülenist” to prevent his election.

Speaking to Fenerbahçe TV on Thursday, Koç said a hundred thousand people filed complaints about him with the Prime Ministry Communications Center (BİMER) and the Presidency Communications Center (CİMER).

The faith-based Gülen movement is considered a terrorist organization by the Turkish government and held responsible for a range of crimes, first and foremost of orchestrating a July 15, 2016 coup attempt. The regime in Turkey uses the acronym FETÖ to describe the movement as a terrorist organization. Koç, who is the heir to one of the largest conglomerates in Turkey, used the same term in his remarks.

As part of Turkey’s massive purge against real and perceived supporters of the movement, over 150,000 people have been dismissed from their jobs in the public sector.

More than 50,000 people from all walks of life have been subjected to persecution ranging from brief detention to long pre-trial detentions on coup charges.

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