Istanbul Municipality has changed the names of 192 streets in a renaming campaign largely aimed at removing any connection with Fethullah Gulen and his movement.
Turkish government accuses the Gulen movement of masterminding the July 15, 2016 coup attempt while the latter denies involvement. Nearly 150,000 have passed through police custody, of which 60,000 were remanded in prison over Gulen links since the summer of 2016.
Turkish media reported that 192 streets and roads were renamed following the approval of the city council.
Two streets, both called Gulen Street, in Istanbul’s historic Eyup district were named after Omer Halisdemir, a Turkish soldier who was killed after shooting an alleged coup plotter on the night of July 15, 2016. Another 25 Gulen streets were also renamed. Apart from being the surname of the Islamic cleric, Gulen translates into English as smiling.
Four streets called Parallel Street were renamed as the government has often accused the Gulenists of “infiltrating the state institutions.”
Istanbul Municipality also removed any street name that resembles the media organizations which were earlier closed over Gulen links such as Zaman, Samanyolu, Sızıntı, Aksiyon and Cihan, and journalists who used to work for those publications including Ekrem Dumanli.
A street named after Turkey’s former top scorer Hakan Sukur has been also renamed as the former football star is on the government’s target for his public support to the movement.
Kandil (oil lamp) Street was also changed as the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has its base in Qandil mountains.
The streets with the names that were considered morally inappropriate were also changed. Fak which translates into snare is one of such words that were removed from the streets as it is pronounced like the f word in English.