Aladdin Demir, the mukhtar (head) of the Çukur neighborhood in Gaziantep, hung two banners on the side of his office stating that sympathizers of the Gülen movement are not allowed in the area and that people can call him to report any transgressor via a 7/24 hotline.
The discriminatory practices backed by Turkey’s top state officials against the Gülen movement (aka Hizmet) has taken a turn for the worse with mukhtars refusing to let sympathizers of the movement even into the streets. The government accuses the movement of masterminding a July 15 coup attempt in Turkey, although the latter denies any involvement.
“It is forbidden for pro-FETÖ to enter the Çukur neighborhood,” Demir said in the first banner, also giving his mobile phone number, or what he calls the “FETÖ report line,” in the second one.
The second banner says the hotline is open 24/7.
“I don’t want these traitors in my neighborhood or my country. If I see any of them around here, I will immediately report them to the police and the relevant authorities,” Demir told the İhlas news agency.
“People should not expect everything from the government,” the mukhtar said in clear reference to earlier calls from state officials.
Top government officials previously called on people to lend a hand in its all-out war against Hizmet volunteers, a call that seems to have resonated with some segments of society. Several stores across Turkey that sell Gülen books were earlier reported to have been looted by angry mobs.
Huge banners previously hung on the walls of two restaurants in Istanbul read: “Parallels and sympathizers of parallels not allowed inside the restaurant.”
“Traitors, putschists and parallels not are allowed in,” another banner hung on the side of a restaurant in Denizli’s Acıpayam district stated on Sept. 4. “Parallel” refers to members of the alleged terrorist network of the movement within state institutions.
“Dear Altındağ District Director of Education Şefika Biçer, Murat Şen, who was appointed by you, has turned out to be pro-FETÖ. All people you brought to this district and appointed as school principals have turned out to be pro-FETO. Are you also pro-FETO?” read two banners hung on a pole in Ankara’s Altındağ district on Sept. 1.
A Konya stallholder also hung a banner that read “Gulen sympathizers are not allowed to shop here,” in August of this year.
Discriminative discourse used by government officials against the movement has also echoed among the Turkish diaspora abroad. Hizmet members have been prevented from observing Friday prayers in DITIB mosques in the cities of Bergneustadt and Waldbröd in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), Ralf Jäger, NRW’s interior minister, told Deutsche Welle in mid-September.
Earlier in August, a Turkish man, believed to be a follower of the Gülen movement, was attacked a day after Turkey’s consul general in Rotterdam called on people to “do their part” against the movement.
Insults and the targeting of Hizmet volunteers are not limited to the period after July 15, with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan himself previously calling Gülen followers viruses, leeches, terrorists, bloodsuckers, assassins and gang members, among many other insults.