‘FETÖ Syndrome’ has emerged as an ever-spreading paranoia that causes many people to leave Turkey while also preventing many others even from shopping at the grocery stores considered as tied to the Gülen movement, according to Turkish psychotherapist Çağatay Öztürk.

FETÖ is a derogatory buzzword, coined by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who calls the Gülen movement as Fethullahist Terrorist Organization, a clear reference to Fethullah Gulen, the US-based cleric who inspires the group.

In a recent interview to Sozcu newspaper, Ozturk said FETÖ Syndrome has appeared as a contagious state of repeated depression that frightens people of being linked to the movement.

Turkish government accuses the movement of masterminding the July 15, 2016 coup attempt although the latter denies involvement. More than 120,000 people have been detained and some 55,000 were put in pretrial arrest while over 145,000 have lost their jobs amid the government’s post-coup crackdown against people deemed to have ties to the movement.

A former research assistant at Oxford University, Öztürk has now started the work to get formal recognition for his description of FETÖ Syndrome in the UK.

Asked if people visit him for counselling against FETÖ Syndrome, Öztürk said: “Considerable number of people come to me for this. What they all have in common is that they are making plans to escape Turkey and live abroad. With large amounts of money.”

“No exaggeration: the wealth of the people that I offer consultancy makes up 10 percent of Turkish economy. They prefer to live in Florida. Miami is among the favorable locations. There are some others who go to Los Angeles. There are others who go to London despite recent attacks. Switzerland, Germany… Because the methods to deal with the problems are different over there. Neither citizens nor government officials act by their emotions,” he added.

People fear to shop at grocery stores considered as Gülenists

FETÖ Syndrome may trigger what psychotherapists call “masked depression” or/and “major depression as well as some illnesses that require medication, Ozturk said.

“For example, one of my clients has anxiously told me that he stayed away from the closest hospital due its FETÖ connection when he got his leg broken and that he chose to visit another hospital. My other client changed his/her everyday grocery store on the odds that the store is linked to FETÖ. Several people say over and over that they no longer watch news broadcasts from the TV channel they consider linked the FETÖ. In short, this syndrome has damaged the society’s psychological balance while causing emotional disorder.”

Ozturk concluded that even his acquaintances warned him before the interview to stay away from undesired remarks.