Erdoğan vows to root out Gülenists in business world
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has pledged to root out any businesses which are linked to the U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, who has been blamed for the July 15 coup attempt, promising “no mercy” in singling them out.
Business is the arena in which the network of Fethullah Gülen is still the strongest, Erdoğan said in a speech in a meeting with the heads of business chambers and bourses in Ankara.
“The ones who were arrested until now from this network are just the tip of the iceberg. The work for the others is underway. For sure, there is a business pillar of this organization. This may be where they are the strongest. As a rule, unless there is financing, no project can be realized. We are determined to cut all the links of this organization within the business world,” said Erdoğan.
Those who “financed the shooters” would be treated like the coup plotters themselves, he added.
The Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) is accused of harnessing an extensive network of schools, charities and businesses, built up in Turkey and abroad over the decades, to infiltrate state institutions and build a “parallel structure” that aimed to take over the country.
“As I mentioned yesterday here, I feel sad that I failed to reveal the true face of this traitorous organization long before,” said Erdoğan, referring to the network which Turkey alleges is a terror group.
“I know that we have to give account both to our God and to our people. Let my God and my people forgive us,” Erdoğan said.
“We will not forgive anyone who financed even one bullet which was shot by this organization,” he said.
Although the bulk of the purges in the wake of the coup attempt have been in the security forces, judiciary and public sector, private firms have also been affected.
Call for state-run, private lenders
Erdoğan also said the Central Bank should aim to raise its foreign reserves to at least $165 billion and urged lenders to reduce interest rates for home purchases to around 9 percent.
“State-run and private lenders should decrease the rates for house purchases to 9 percent. What will they lose when they take this step?” he said.
He described high interest rates as oppressive.
Erdoğan also repeatedly said Turkey’s economy remains strong in the wake of last month’s failed military coup.
‘Shamefulness a character issue’
The Fethullah Gülen movement aims to take over all the countries its members are residing in, including the United States, Erdoğan also said.
“They see all the 160 countries they are organized in as homelands, and they have the self-confidence to say that they will eventually take over those countries,” Erdoğan added.
“They will take over the U.S. That’s what they say and by residing there, they create the image that things are run from there.”
Erdoğan also dismissed the possible threat of more action on Aug. 14 by FETÖ during his speech. “They didn’t draw lessons from what happened. They are trying to threaten the people. They are saying, ‘Wait for Aug. 14,’” said Erdoğan, adding that “shamefulness is a character issue.” “We are not cowardly, we are brave. Shamefulness is a character issue. It doesn’t know any time or space boundaries. If your character has become dirty, then you can express your treason 365 days a year,” he said.
The people had showed the group a lesson, Erdoğan said, adding that precautions would continue to be taken. During his speech Erdoğan, said there was no reason to stand on the side of the “treason network.”