Journalist Cem Küçük, a staunch supporter of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), has said if Erdoğan or his party is ousted from power, AKP figures will be the subject of mass detentions and will have to flee the country under the new administration.
Küçük’s remarks came Sunday evening during a program on the pro-government Beyaz TV during which he, the program’s host Latif Şimşek and AKP deputy Mehmet Metiner exchanged views about new political parties that are currently being established in Turkey by former AKP heavyweights Ahmet Davutoğlu and Ali Babacan.
“People might think I’m exaggerating, but if an Erdoğan opponent is elected, everyone [supporting the AKP] including us will go on trial. They will launch serial detentions,” said Küçük.
Following a coup attempt in July 2016, 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.
The Turkish government accuses the Gülen movement of masterminding the failed coup and labels it a “terrorist organization,” although the movement strongly denies involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.
Küçük also said pro-AKP figures will have to flee the country and seek asylum in the US or Europe if Erdoğan is thrown out of office but that they will not be given protection in those countries although they now grant asylum to Gülen followers and Kurds who have fled government persecution in Turkey.
“Let’s say I went to London [to seek asylum] as I can speak English. They would extradite me to Turkey in two days,” said Küçük.
In response, Metiner said as a person who cannot speak English, he would have nowhere to go in such a situation.
Thousands of Gülen movement followers have had to flee Turkey following the coup attempt to avoid the government crackdown on the Gülen movement and sought asylum in the Western countries.