Former speechwriter of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and current ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) deputy Aydın Ünal on Monday threatened Turkish journalists in exile with extrajudicial killings, in his column published in the pro-Erdoğan Yeni Şafak daily.

Strongly criticizing journalists in exile for covering the case of Reza Zarrab, a Turkish-Iranian gold trader who was arrested in Miami in March 2016 on charges of evading US sanctions on Iran, Ünal said: “Better to get ready for intra-organization extrajudicial killings instead of carrying out operations over judicial theater [the Zarrab case].”

Ünal pointed to the Gülen movement as the possible perpetrator meanwhile social media accounts supporting the movement claimed that it is the Turkish government who would be involved in such executions before putting blame on the movement.

The AK Party deputy listed the names of journalists to be targeted: Ekrem Dumanlı, Adem Yavuz Arslan, Celil Sağır, Bülent Keneş, Abdülhamit Bilici, Erhan Başyurt, Emre Uslu, Akın İpek and Can Dündar.

In another article published on Nov. 27 in Yeni Şafak, Ünal threatened sympathizers of the Gülen movement in Turkey, saying tougher days lie ahead as a result of the case against Reza Zarrab.

Accusing Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen of pushing the Zarrab case in the US, Ünal in his column published in Yeni Şafak said: “In fact there are more than 250,000 FETÖ [a derogatory term coined by the ruling AKP to refer to the Gülen movement] members who are ‘not intelligent,’ do not flee, could not flee. There are in all about 1 million in Turkey. The Zarrab case will naturally make the conditions of FETÖ members more difficult.”

“If the Zarrab case is used as a political attack against Turkey, the peace of FETÖ members in Turkey and all over the world will be more difficult than it is today,” added Ünal.

This article originally appeared in Turkish Minute on Dec 4.