After two years of sporadic purge waves that saw mass dismissals of public workers, with real or perceived ties to Gulen Movement, the country’s president stated that the purge is far from over.
Speaking at an opening ceremony in Police Special Forces headquarters in Ankara on Wednesday, President Tayyip Erdogan spoke about the post-coup purge and potential new dismissals.
“I think we still could not completely clean FETO from our institutions,” the Hurriyet Daily News quoted President Erdogan as saying. The event in which he spoke was marking the 174th anniversary of the foundation of Turkey’s National Police Forces.
The Turkish authorities identified the Gulen Movement as a terrorist outfit by calling it “FETO” and imprisoned its members en masse. Critics lament that the crackdown on the movement members became a witch-hunt while people lacked due process in politically-motivated trials.
The group was also accused by the Turkish government of orchestrating the botched putsch in 2016. Both its U.S.-based leader and members strongly deny any link to the coup attempt.
Erdogan, during his speech, said the movement infiltrated the country’s police force, the military, and judiciary. He also gave details about the ongoing trials in which the Movement members are being tried. Some 20,000 Gulen-affiliated people have been received jail sentences while over 10,000 remained in custody, the president noted.
There are currently 30,559 Gulen people in prison, according to the president’s numbers. Of those imprisoned, 20,226 were convicted.
The purge hit the country’s security institutions hard. Over 31,000 people from law enforcement have been dismissed, the president noted.
“Those who tried to bring Turkey to its knees” failed, the president argued. He vowed that as long as the country remained united, similar attempts to defeat Turkey through elements within the country are doomed to fail.