Erdoğan warns media to avoid labelling people as Gülenists

Erdoğan warns media to avoid labelling people as Gülenists

Vahap Munyar – HANGZHOU
Erdoğan warns media to avoid labelling people as Gülenists


President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has warned media to be more sensitive regarding the probes into the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), saying the media should avoid labelling people as Gülenists. 

“There are ones saying, ‘I can make something up.’ Some people are doing this. There are especially plenty of those in printed and visual media,” Erdoğan told a group of journalists while on his way back to Turkey from the G-20 Summit in China.

U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen is believed to have masterminded the July 15 failed coup attempt.

“Sometimes when I have time, I watch TV. They are making such comments that the people they blame [for being a Gülenist] don’t have anything to do with it. But they are labelling people. This is not correct. These mistakes should be avoided,” he said. 

During his interview, Erdoğan also talked about former Interior Minister Efkan Ala’s resignation, saying the idea was presented to him by Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım. 

“Efkan Ala was my undersecretary. He is a friend whom I made a minister without being a deputy. He is a talented friend. We made evaluations with the prime minister due to the sensitive developments in the recent period,” Erdoğan said, noting Yıldırım told him Ala’s resignation would be “appropriate.”

“However, Efkan Ala is our friend in a common cause. We will continue to benefit from his good work,” the president added. 

Erdoğan also categorically denied a recent media report that National Intelligence Agency (MİT) head Hakan Fidan had prevented an assassination plot against the president as he was about to undergo surgery in a private hospital. 

“This is a huge lie. I had said, ‘I will undergo a surgery in a state hospital.’ My surgery was in Pendik State Hospital [in Istanbul],” he said. 

Previous media reports alleged that Fidan notified Erdoğan that the hospital where he was about to undergo surgery belonged to Gülenists, which was followed by the president changing the hospital.