Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş has said during a live TV interview that it was not right to feel pity for the victims of a massive purge carried out by his party in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt in July 2016.

“On behalf of this nation, I am asking those who talk about the KHK purges, please don’t speak as if July 15 had not happened. … If the coup had succeeded, those who complain about KHKs would occupy important posts in the government to have been established after the coup. I think it’s wrong to shed tears for these people and give eulogies for them,” said Kurtulmuş.

Kurtulmuş’s remarks came during a program on the Haber Global news station over the weekend.

More than 130,000 people have been removed from state jobs through government decrees, known as KHKs, since the coup attempt on July 15, 2016 under the pretext of an anti-coup fight.

The purged civil servants are accused of having links to terrorist organizations, namely the Gülen movement, which is branded as a terrorist organization by the Turkish government.

The Turkish government accuses the Gülen movement of masterminding the coup attempt and labels it a “terrorist organization,” although the movement strongly denies involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.

In addition to losing their jobs, purge victims have been denied passports, and according to many reports have been struggling to find jobs as they were stigmatized by a broader smear campaign. (Turkish Minute)