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Turkey to strip 130 people of citizenship on terror charges

Turkey says it will revoke the citizenship of 130 overseas nationals, including the US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, over allegations of terror activities and crimes against the constitutional order, unless they return to the Anatolian country within a three-month period beginning from June 5.

According to Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency, citing a notice by the Interior Ministry published in the Official Gazette on Monday, pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) legislators Faysal Sariyildiz and Tugba Hezer, and former HDP lawmaker Ozdal Ucer, were also included in the released list.

Shortly after the attempted coup in mid-July last year, Ankara blamed Gulen of masterminding and orchestrating the botched putsch, in which some 250 people lost their lives and about 2,200 sustained injuries. However, Gulen, 76, who has lived in self-imposed exile in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania, since 1999 and strongly opposes Ankara, denies any involvement in the coup attempt against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Furthermore, the Turkish government, has branded the Gulen’s movement, as the “Fethullah Terrorist Organization (FETO).” Ankara has also tried for a number of times to convince Washington to extradite Gulen, but all to no avail.

A few days after the coup attempt, Turkey imposed a state of emergency, under which 150,000 people, most of whom accused of supporting the so-called FETO, have been sacked or suspended from the public sector, including teachers, academics, doctors and members of the armed forces. The state of emergency has been renewed three times.

More than 50,000 people have also been imprisoned on suspicion of having links to the coup and the FETO.