Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan vowed on Thursday to choke off businesses linked to the U.S.-based cleric he blames for an attempted coup, describing his schools, firms and charities as ”nests of terrorism” and promising no mercy in rooting them out, Reuters reported.
Business is the arena in which the network of Fethullah Gulen is still the strongest, Erdogan said in a speech from his palace broadcast live. Those who ”financed the shooters” would be treated like the coup plotters themselves, he said, Reuters wrote.
Erdogan accuses Gulen of harnessing an extensive network of schools, charities and businesses, built up in Turkey and abroad over decades, to infiltrate state institutions and build a ”parallel structure” that aimed to take over the country, the report reads.
The 75-year-old cleric denies the allegations.
As reported, more than 60,000 people in the military, judiciary, civil service and education have been detained, suspended or placed under investigation for alleged links to his ”Hizmet” (Service) movement since the July 15 coup, prompting fears among Western allies and rights groups of a witch-hunt, Reuters writes.
”They have nothing to do with a religious community, they are a fully-fledged terrorist organization … This cancer is different, this virus has spread everywhere,” Erdogan told heads of chambers of commerce and bourses attending his speech, according to the report.