Psychotherapist tries to get recognition for ‘FETÖ Syndrome’ for widespread Gülenophobia in Turkey

Çağatay Öztürk, a Turkish psychotherapist, has talked to Turkey’s Sözcü daily about a spreading psychological complication in the country, which he defined as the ‘FETÖ Syndrome,” reported by Birgün daily.

Mentioning that he actually stepped up to get approval from a university in the United Kingdom (UK) in order for this term to enter the psychology literature, Öztürk said what he refers to as “FETÖ Syndrome” is a state of mind and emotion that seriously triggers masked or major depression, as well as, emotional disturbances caused by extreme paranoia.

The Islamist government of Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has labeled the Gülen movement as “FETÖ,” a derogatory term and acronym for the “Fethullahist Terrorist Organization.” The movement, inspired by US-based Turkish Muslim intellectual Fethullah Gülen, rejects Turkish government’s accusations as politically motivated. Gülen has been decades-long advocate of science education, interfaith and intercultural dialogue and community contribution. The movement he inspired is active in 180 countries with schools, dialogue centers and cultural institutions.

As Sözcü reporter asked, ‘We went through a social trauma on July 15, 2016 and now there is a ‘fear of FETÖ’ spread among the peopel like a virus. What is the term to define this situation in the field of psychology?’ Öztürk replied and tried to define widespread and increasing Gülenophobia among the Turkish people as follow:

“You call it a ‘FETÖ virus’ but I’ve already found another name for it and even started the necessary work to have it approved at a university in England. We call it the ‘FETÖ Syndrome’. It means depression… In other words, it is a contagious state of repeated depression… As a result of the years long speculations over things like deep state, etc., people at times create scenarios on their minds and build on their fears… State of mind and emotion is something that could be contagious as we tend to absorb each other’s energy. And, the reason for the ‘FETÖ Syndrome’ to spread quickly is actually this.”

Öztürk also drew attention to the increase in the number of people that come to him for counseling sessions with anxieties related to the current situation in Turkey and added: “So many well-known people also come to me. And, what they all have in common is that they are planning to leave the country and go abroad… And, these people are also loaded with money… I mean, no exaggeration: the wealth of some of the people that I offer consultancy and counseling makes up 10 percent of the country’s economy… But they want to live elsewhere…”

Saying that responsibility lies with public officals, Öztürk said that “The Turkish government and public figures ‘must comfort the people’ rather than fueling into their severed fears. Staying away from shopping in stores deemed as ‘linked to FETÖ’; refusing to watch TV channels thought of supporting FETÖ; and preferring a hospital far away just because a one that is near is believed to be run by people with sympahty for FETÖ are a few of many examples that could be given about the impact of the current situation on daily lives of people and on their minds and behaviors,” the expert said.

A controversial military coup attempt on July 15 killed over 240 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, strongly denied having any role in the failed coup and called for an international investigation into it, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions and jailing them en masse on trumped-up charges.

The Gülen movement faces an unprecedented persecution in Turkey where the rule of law has effectively ended with Erdoğan fully controlling all levers of the powers including the judiciary without any checks and balances. Statutory decrees passed in reference to the state of emergency law declared after the failed coup attempt has left hundreds of thousands of people dismissed; scores of people jailed, including journalists and deputies; and, hundreds of media institutions and civil society organizations shutdown.

At least 161,751 people were detained or investigated and 50,334 people were arrested in Turkey in the framework of the Turkish government’s massive post-coup witch hunt campaign targeting alleged members of the Gülen movement since the controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016, according to statistics reported by state-run Anadolu news agency by basing on information taken from the officials from Turkey’s Justice Minsitry on June 13.

June 25, 2017

 

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