19:38 GMT +319 September 2019
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    Pro-nationalist university students shout during a protest against U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen and his followers during a demonstration in Ankara, on July 21, 2016

    Turkey's Ruling AKP Intends to Exclude Gulen's Supporters From Party Ranks

    © AFP 2019 / ADEM ALTAN
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    The Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) will exclude from their ranks supporters of US-based dissident Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara accused of being the mastermind behind the recent coup attempt, according to AKP deputy chair Hayati Yazici.

    ANKARA (Sputnik) — The Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) on Friday stressed the need to exclude from their ranks supporters of US-based dissident Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara accused of being the mastermind behind the recent coup attempt.

    "It is necessary to urgently, preventing rumors and disagreements within the party, to start sorting out the party ranks from those who supported the disgusting coup attempt and is linked to Fethullah Gulen's terrorist organization," the notice, signed by AKP deputy chair Hayati Yazici, reads.

    On July 15, the Turkish authorities said that an attempted coup was taking place in the country, which was suppressed the next day. Over 13,000 people have been detained in connection with the coup, while about 250 people died during the coup attempt. The Turkish government said that Gulen who, Ankara believes, is seeking to overthrow the current government was allegedly linked to a coup attempt.

    The Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETO)/Parallel State Structure (PDY), made up of Gulen's supporters, is designated a terrorist organization by Ankara. In 2014, Turkey opened an investigation into the organization's activities. Gulen faces multiple charges, including treason, all of which he denies.

    Gulen is said to be the main suspect in the December 17-21, 2013, mass wiretapping investigation that targeted over 7,000 people.

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