Turkish gov’t realises almost 15,000 official contacts across world to defame Gülen movement

Turkish government led by Islamist President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has realised almost 15,000 official contacts with its international interlucutors to defame the members and activities of the Gülen movement since a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

According to a report by Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency (AA) on Saturday, Turkey’s diplomatic missions all across the world have realised about 14,781 official contacts, including 448 official contacts on the level of presidents and prime ministers as part of the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) post-coup defamation campaign targeting the pacifist Gülen movement.

The AA has also reported that 1,519 official contacts have been realised on the level of ministries, 2,842 official contacts have been realised on the level of parliamentarians and 9,972 official contacts have been realised by other top level government officials.

According to AA, the profiling of almost all alleged members of the Gülen movement in almost 160 countries across the globe has been completed by Turkish diplomatic missions and institutions. The report also said that one of the main three missions of Turkey’s diplomatic missions abroad have been the seizure of the schools administered by the volunteers of the Gülen movement, preventing the activities of the movement’s sympathisers in these countries and assuring their deportation to Turkey.

Moreover, Turkish embassies and consulates have gave 3,416 interviews to media, including 724 interviews to TV channels and 2,692 interviews to the print media. Turkey’s diplomatic missions have also held 410 press conferences and published 884 articles and letters in foreign media to defame alleged members and activities of the Gülen movement.

Turkey survived a controversial military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed 249 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with 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, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

Turkey has suspended or dismissed more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants since July 15. On December 13, 2017 the Justice Ministry announced that 169,013 people have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup.

Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu announced on April 18, 2018 that the Turkish government had jailed 77,081 people between July 15, 2016 and April 11, 2018 over alleged links to the Gülen movement.

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