Türkiye Finans Participation Bank has rejected a job application on the grounds that the applicant previously worked for Bank Asya, which was shut down by the government due to its affiliation with the faith-based Gülen movement.
Social media users circulated a screenshot of a LinkedIn message by the bank’s personnel manager, who referred to the applicant’s work history as the sole reason for the rejection.
Human rights activist Salih Gergerlioğlu described the bank’s justification as scandalous since the applicant is not the subject of any criminal investigation.
Bank Asya was one of the dozens of institutions, including labor unions, NGOs, foundations and media outlets, that were shut down due to their Gülen links in the aftermath of a failed military coup in July 2016.
Although the bank was operating legally up until its closure, the accounts and transactions of thousands of people were retroactively criminalized after the coup and were used by courts as evidence proving their affiliation with or loyalty to the movement.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been targeting followers of the Gülen movement, inspired by Turkish Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen, since the 2013 corruption investigations, which implicated then-prime minister Erdoğan, his family members and his inner circle.
Dismissing the investigations as a Gülenist coup and conspiracy against his government, Erdoğan designated the movement as a terrorist organization and began to target its members. He intensified the crackdown on the movement following an abortive putsch in 2016 that he accused Gülen of masterminding. Gülen and the movement strongly deny involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.
In addition to the thousands who were jailed, scores of other Gülen movement followers had to flee Turkey to avoid the government crackdown.