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Pro-government figures face prosecution if Erdogan goes, says columnist 

Many prominent supporters of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will face prosecution if an anti-government figure is elected president in the country, a leading pro-government columnist has said.

Cem Kucuk, made the assertion speaking in a live TV program on the Beyaz TV channel, along with former Justice and Development Party (AKP) lawmaker Mehmet Metiner and host Latif Simsek.

“If an opponent of Erdogan is elected, everyone, including us, is prosecuted. A series of arrests begin. As you know, the practice [of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP)], [this time, the new administration] seize the [pro-government] newspapers. They take the media outlets and companies in a single day,” Kucuk said.

The AKP government has shut down many critical media outlets through emergency decrees after a failed coup attempt in July 2016.

The Erdogan regime blames the Gulen movement, led by the US-based Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen, for the coup attempt and deems the faith-based group a terrorist organization.

Tens of thousands of the movement’s perceived and real members have been imprisoned with nearly 150,000 people from the public sector being dismissed or suspended, as part of a post-coup crackdown. Gulen and the movement followers vehemently deny any links to the putsch bid.

Kucuk, a staunch Erdogan supporter, further suggested those who struggled against the movement would pay the price.

“[New] emergency decrees will be announced immediately. There will be no FETO members in the jails. The trials [for the AKP supporters] will be initiated. [For example] when Mehmet Metiner is arrested, will the European Union (EU) oppose it?” he questioned.

When asked about the possibility for Erdogan’s prosecution, Kucuk said the new administration may not dare do so immediately but would prosecute Erdogan’s close circle.

Following Kucuk’s prosecution-related remarks, the former AKP MP Metiner reacted, saying, “this means that we [Erdogan’s supporters] will be chewed up and spat out.”

Some critics regard Kucuk as the mouthpiece of the Turkish Intelligence Service (MIT), rather than a journalist. He is known for his frequent threats against Turkish journalists and academics.

Anytime Kucuk writes in his columns that a reporter would be fired, the ousting soon takes place, critics claim.

Speaking on another TV broadcast for TGRT in December 2017, Kucuk suggested that MIT should kill family members of jailed Gulen followers to turn the inmates into operatives for the Erdogan regime, referring to the practice by Israeli intelligence agency MOSSAD against Palestinian, Jordanian and Egyptian inmates.

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