Turkish President Designates Gulen Group “Terrorists”

Turkish President Designates Gulen Group “Terrorists”Turkish President Designates Gulen Group “Terrorists”

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan officially designated the religious movement of US-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen a terrorist group and said he would pursue its members whom he accuses of trying to topple the government.

The move puts the organization built by his former ally legally on par with Kurdish militants currently fighting the army in Turkey’s southeast.

Erdogan might use the designation in pressing Washington to extradite Gulen, a step US authorities are nonetheless unlikely to take without concrete grounds, Reuters reported.

“We will not let those who divide the nation off the hook in this country,” Erdogan told flag-waving supporters upon arriving late on Monday in the coastal city of Izmir where he will observe military exercises.

“They will be brought to account. Some fled and some are in prison and are currently being tried. This process will continue.”

Erdogan said the cabinet had approved a decision to designate Gulen’s followers as the “Gulenist terror group”.

Accused by his critics of an increasingly authoritarian style of rule, Erdogan has long described Gulen as a terrorist. He seeks to break the cleric’s influence, built on a network of schools and companies in Turkey and abroad.