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Man employed by former Ankara mayor as ‘Fetö specialist’ never worked

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Çetin Acar was employed as a specialist on Fetö, a derogatory term coined by the Turkish government to refer to the Gülen movement as a terrorist organization, by former Ankara Mayor Melih Gökçek and was paid a salary of TL 270,000 (around $50,000) over the past four years although he never worked for the municipality, according to Ankara’s current mayor, Mansur Yavaş.

Yavaş, who was elected mayor from the Republican People’s Party (CHP) in the March 31 local elections, responded to criticism about municipal employees who were fired from their jobs after he took office at a city council meeting earlier this week. The criticism came from the Justice and Development Party (AKP) members of the city council.

Yavaş said only 850 people who were employed following the March 31 election, between March 31 and April 1, were fired because it was obvious they were employed for political reasons by the former AKP mayor.

He gave examples of individuals who were hired by the former mayor but did not in fact do any work for the municipality.

Yavaş displayed the business card of Acar, who was employed by former AKP Ankara Mayor Gökçek as a “Fetö specialist.”

Following a coup attempt on July 15, 2016, the Turkish government and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement, describing it as a terrorist organization.

Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, strongly denied having any role in the failed coup and called for an international investigation into it, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

Erdoğan also on many occasions called on ordinary citizens to report Gülen movement followers to the judicial authorities.

Yavaş said Acar did not even come to the municipality to work but was given a total salary of TL 270,000 over the past four years.

The man reportedly said he was working for the National Intelligence Organization (MİT), a claim denied by MİT.

Following the coup attempt, the Turkish government as part of its massive crackdown on followers of the movement under the pretext of an anti-coup fight, removed more than 150,000 people from state jobs while in excess of 50,000 others were jailed and some 600,000 people have been investigated on allegations of terrorism.

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