People affiliated with the Gülen movement will be “rooted out” from the Balkans, Turkish autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Wednesday in a speech in the Serbian town of Novi Pazar alongside his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic.
“We will root out this treacherous gang called FETÖ from the Balkans, just as we did from our country,” vowed Erdoğan. “FETÖ” is a derogatory buzzword, coined by Erdoğan who calls the Gülen movement as Fethullahist Terrorist Organization.
“One of the first leaders that supported us on the night of July 15 was Vucic. I cannot forget Vucic’s support after the coup attempt. I know what kind of struggle my dear friend has given against FETÖ,” Erdoğan said, adding that “Turkey’s trust and confidence in Vucic is absolute on the issue.”
Erdoğan also said local people are “paying the price of chaos” for clashes that “erupt with the provocations of exterior powers” in the Balkans, urging the people of Balkans to “unite.” He added that “The more you unite, come together and be brothers as the Balkan peoples, the stronger, safer and more prosperous you will become.”
Turkey survived a controversial military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed 249 people. Immediately after the putsch the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with Turkey’s autocratic President 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, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.
Turkey’s Justice Ministry announced on July 13 that 50,510 people have been arrested and 169,013 have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup. (SCF with turkeypurge.com)