Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu on Sunday vowed another large-scale operation against the Gülen movement, the Haber Türk newspaper reported.
Addressing village headmen and civil society representatives in Ankara, Soylu announced that the Turkish government was preparing for a substantial operation against members of the faith-based movement, which it accuses of masterminding a coup attempt in 2016.
“We’re getting ready for another large-scale operation against ‘FETÖ’,” Soylu said, using the derogatory term coined by government circles to refer to the movement, adding: “We will blow their minds. They are still present, and they are lying in wait for the government to weaken. Even demons don’t have their ability to deceive. But this country has children who will look out for them.”
Despite the movement and its US-based leader Fethullah Gülen having denied any involvement in the abortive putsch and calling for an international investigation into it, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan — who once called the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and his government launched a widespread crackdown on alleged sympathizers, putting tens of thousands of people behind bars.
“Some people have pity on them. I pity those who do. Insisting on following such a deviant even after his intentions are clear is nothing but complicity in the crime,” Soylu said.
“We will do whatever is necessary to root them out. We will eradicate them entirely in this country, no matter what anyone does,” Soylu added.
Also slamming the Kurdish political movement’s Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), Soylu claimed the government would prevent a march on Monday announced by the HDP in protest of the “heavy lockdown” of Abdullah Öcalan, leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
“We are not men if we allow you to march,” Soylu said.