Erdoğan signals new measures against Gülenists

Erdoğan signals new measures against Gülenists

Erdoğan signals new measures against Gülenists

AA Photo

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has hinted at new measures against followers of Pennsylvania-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, as he repeatedly described Gülenists in the country as “a gang of treachery.”

“Today, Turkey is at the threshold of a critical period. We are facing a lot of threats, from separatist terror to the parallel gang of treachery,” Erdoğan said April 29, referring to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which Turkey lists as a terror organization, along with the “parallel state.”

“Those who are annoyed by Turkey’s embrace with its siblings in the region have surrounded our sphere merely with a ring of fire. We very well know what is being done and for what reason. We also well know who is behind and what it is after,” Erdoğan said at a meeting staged to promote projects by the Food, Agriculture and Livestock Ministry.

“But we also know very well,” he said, adding in Arabic that “There is no winner other than God.”

His remarks came just a few hours before he chaired a regular bi-monthly meeting of the National Security Council (MGK) later on April 29. Over the weekend, speaking to reporters during his return from an official visit to Kuwait, he already indicated that the meeting of the council, bringing together top civilian and military leaders of the country, would be dominated by the fight against Gülen’s purported “parallel state,” or “the parallel structure.”

“Those who are determined to have belonged to this structure will either be suspended or disqualified. In this country, [the Gülenists] will either accept the existence of this state or will disappear. This will continue in a determined way,” Erdoğan said over the weekend, noting that his office had drafted certain measures and sent it to the government. 

“It will also be on our agenda at tomorrow’s MGK [meeting],” he said.

Erdoğan and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, which Erdoğan led as the prime minister from early 2003 to August 2014, have accused Gülen and his supporters in the judiciary and the police of seeking to establish a “parallel state” and orchestrating a corruption investigation targeting the then-prime minister’s inner circle in December 2013 as part of a coup attempt.

At the meeting hosted by the Food, Agriculture and Livestock Ministry, Erdoğan pledged to fight against those who plan to “stab Turkey in the back,” as they “found gangs of treachery in their glass houses abroad.”

‘No Kurdish issue, but a bunch of problems’

On his way back from Kuwait, Erdoğan reiterated that Turkey had no “Kurdish issue,” and added that this issue belonged to 2005 or 2007, but not today.

“We would fall into a very big mistake, if we consider the ‘resolution process’ as a matter solely related to our Kurdish citizens in our country, as we say ‘resolution process in Turkey.’ There is a bunch of problems in Turkey. We are talking about a resolution process in this entire bunch of problems,” he said. “In my country, not only Kurdish citizens, but our Turkish citizens also have problems. The Roma, the Laz; they also have problems.”

The term “resolution process,” which is widely dubbed the “peace process,” is commonly used by governmental officials to refer to the process to end the three-decade-long conflict between Turkey’s security forces and the PKK. The process was initiated through talks with the jailed leader of the PKK, Abdullah Öcalan, and state officials toward the end of 2012.