Demonizing remarks on Turkey’s Gulen group have reached a new level with government supporters resorting to obscenity in hate speech against its supporters.
Turkish government accused the Gulen movement for masterminding the July 15, 2016 coup attempt while the latter denies the allegation. With the long-expected trials of military officers allegedly involved in the failed takeover not open to media, the group’s involvement is still unclear a year after the bloody summer night.
However, 169,013 people have been the subject of legal proceedings over links to the movement; over 120,000 were detained and some 50,500 were put in pre-trial arrest since then.
Meanwhile, obscene remarks by government supporters against the movement’s sympathizers have become only a recent incident. An Adana couple, as part of celebrations for their son’s circumcision, hung a banner on the back of their car that reads: “Azıcık ucundan, kalanı FETÖ’ye,” a vulgar expression that translates into English as follows: Let just the top of it goes, the remaining part is for FETÖ. The father tells reporters that he finds the sentences given to people charged over links to the movement not enough saying: “We want death penalty!”
FETO, among others including vampires, blood-sucking leeches, tumors, viruses, is a derogatory buzzword, coined by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who calls the movement as Fethullahist Terrorist Organization, a clear reference to Fethullah Gulen, a US-based cleric who inspires the group. Already promised to bring back death penalty, Erdoğan said in a public speech last month that if people affiliated with the Gülen group are released from prison after completing their prison terms, the Turkish public will “punish them in the streets.”
Trimming of private parts of boys is celebrated as a ritual and is seen by many as a first step from a boyhood to be a man. Circumcised boy wears feather cap; the hosting family gives dinner to guests; family members, relatives and neighbors join a motorcade, led by the family’s car, to mark the ritual along the streets during one-to-two-day celebrations.
In a separate-yet-similar occasion in mid-August, 2016, strange traffic signs erected in Ferizli district of Sakarya province to dehumanize the group’s inspirational leader Fethullah Gulen.
“Caution! Beware of FETÖ,” read the controversial warnings along Ferizli streets while the city’s mayor Ahmet Soğuk added more absurdity into the opacity saying that the warnings were erected in certain spots that often see traffic accidents.
On some occasions earlier, pro-government shopkeepers in some provinces hung banners on their premises reading: “Gulen sympathizers not allowed inside.”
Renee Vaugeois, a Canadian human rights specialist who works as the executive director of the Edmonton-based John Humphrey Centre for Peace & Human Rights, told Canada’s state-run CBC news on Monday: “This a targeted war on a specific group of people in Turkey and to me that speaks to genocide.”