A chief advisor to Devlet Bahçeli, the leader of Turkey’s Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), has called for the vandalizing of houses belonging to followers of the Gülen movement, which is accused by the Turkish government of masterminding a failed coup in 2016.
The advisor, Metin Özkan, was one of the speakers at a program on CNN Türk on Wednesday night when he made the controversial remarks. During the program Özkan expressed his sadness over the vandalizing with red paint of the house of an Alevi family in the western province of İzmir, which has been on the country’s agenda for the past couple of days.
Appealing to the perpetrators of the attack, he said: “If only they had painted red crosses on the houses of FETÖ members. In that case, we’d be able to identify them immediately.”
FETÖ is a term coined by the Turkish government to refer to the Gülen movement as a terrorist organization, although the movement strongly denies involvement in any terrorist activity and the coup attempt.
“Whatever you do to FETÖ members is fine,” he added.
The MHP official attracted widespread criticism on social media for fomenting hatred among the public and promoting a hate crime.
Following the coup attempt, the Turkish government launched a massive crackdown on followers of the Gülen movement under the pretext of an anti-coup fight, as a result of which more than 150,000 people were removed from state jobs while in excess of 30,000 others were jailed and some 600,000 people have been investigated on allegations of terrorism.