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Fethullah Gulen
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/S. Sevi

Turkey threatens citizenship of 130 nationals

June 5, 2017

Turkey has urged exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen to return to the country or risk losing his Turkish citizenship. The interior ministry's ultimatum also targeted two lawmakers of the pro-Kurdish HDP party.


The Turkish interior ministry on Monday announced that 130 Turks would lose their citizenship if they do not return to the country within 90 days.

The group of 130 Turkish citizens includes exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen (pictured above) and two lawmakers from the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democracy Party (HDP), Faysal Sariyildiz and Tugba Hezer.

Ankara has accused the US-based cleric and his supporters of orchestrating a failed coup last year that left more than 300 people dead, including civilians.

Since then, the government has launched a nationwide crackdown on suspected members of Gulen's movement, with some 50,000 people arbitrarily jailed and more than 120,000 purged from jobs in civil services and the armed forces.

Real and imagined threats: the shared past of AKP and the Gülen movement

Following the failed coup of July 2016, Turkey imposed a state of emergency, allowing to rule by decree. Human rights groups have criticized the sweeping purges and detentions, saying it represents an authoritarian shift in the Anatolian nation.

Ankara has also accused the pro-Kurdish HDP of supporting the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, considered a terrorist group by Turkey, the EU and US. The party, however, has denied any links to the PKK.

Kurds targeted

Turkey has jailed at least 11 HDP lawmakers along with thousands of party members. The two lawmakers sought by Turkey are believed to be residing in Europe.

Since the collapse of a peace initiative in July 2015, Turkey has bolstered its campaign against the PKK. But human rights organizations, including UN agencies, have slammed Turkey for its deadly campaigns in predominantly Kurdish regions.

Turkish police detain prime minister's top aide over alleged Gulen links

In March, the UN accused Turkey of killing hundreds of Kurds in the country's southeast region, where it has launched a brutal campaign against PKK militants.

The report said that Turkish security forces committed human rights violations, including extrajudicial executions, rape and torture.

"In total, some 2,000 people were reportedly killed between July 2015 and August 2016, including local residents, amongst whom were women and children, as well as close 800 members of the security forces," said the report published by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

ls/rc (AFP, AP, dpa, EFE)

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