Turkey’s ‘People’s Special Forces’ foundation shuts itself down after Interior Ministry warning
Fevzi Kızılkoyun – ANKARA
The People’s Special Forces (HÖH), a controversial group that emerged to counter Turkey’s July 2016 coup attempt and later legally became a foundation, has opted to shut itself down after a warning from the Interior Ministry.
The ministry on Jan. 12 announced that an investigation had been launched into the group, along with a demand that it be shut down, amid allegations that individuals linked to the group were being armed to form a paramilitary force.
Following this, the governor’s office in the Black Sea province of Trabzon, where the foundation’s headquarters was based, applied to court for the closure of the organization. Upon this application, the group’s management decided to shut itself down.
“We have received a warning that our foundation’s name echoes the names of the Gendarmerie and Police Special Operations [JÖH and PÖH], which led to wrong perceptions in the public. In order for our state to not be damaged and in order to not lead to more discussions, we have shut down our foundation HÖH and its 46 branches [across Turkey],” Fatih Kaya, the leader of the group, said.
Kaya also stated that they have now set up another foundation, dubbed “Sustaining the July 15 Unity and Solidarity,” which will be active only in Trabzon.
Kaya, who served in the Turkish Gendarmerie Special Forces for 10 years, said in a previous interview that the HÖH had 7,000 members in cities across the country, with a mission to “ensure the legacy” of those who fought against the July 15, 2016 coup attempt.