More than 17,000 FETO (as Turkey’s establishment calls members of self-exiled imam Fetullah Gullen’s movement) suspects have been purged from Turkey’s military since the July 15, 2016 coup attempt, the country’s national defense minister announced.
Underlining that the Turkish Armed Forces continued to strengthen as “traitors” among its ranks were removed, Hulusi Akar said that the expulsions — 17,498 so far — would continue until “not a single traitor” wore a Turkish military uniform.
“Since the beginning of the year, 676 terrorists have been neutralized, 64 in [Operation] Claw-1,16 in Claw-2 and 22 in Claw-3,” Akar said, referring to ongoing Turkish “anti-terror” operations in Northern Iraq.
“Hopefully our 82 million citizens will be rid of this scourge of terrorism. Terrorists have no choice but to surrender and give up,” he said.
PKK militants, which are termed terrorists by Turkey and the US, often use northern Iraq as a base to plan cross-border attacks on Turkey.
According to the story the ruling AKP party is sticking to, FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, which left 251 people dead and nearly 2,200 injured.
Turkey accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.