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Erdoğan accuses US of being ‘superior mind’ behind ‘parallel state’

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has accused the US government of being the “superior mind” behind the so-called “parallel state”, which is a term coined by Erdoğan in December 2013 to refer to people believed to be inspired by the ideas of Gülen, especially those within the state bureaucracy.

Speaking during the Esenler Municipality’s ceremony to hand over a set of houses as part of an urban transformation project conducted there, Erdoğan claimed that Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the Gülen movement — a grassroots initiative – resides in rural Pennsylvania because he collaborates with US government against Turkey.

“We only have one state, State of the Republic of Turkey. Now, a parallel state has also occurred. Where is the founder of that paralel state? [He is] in Pennsylvania. Why would they [US government] keep him in Pennsylvania? What is this about? You should understand that a superior mind is controlling them [“parallel state”]. However, you should also know that some of them are currently behind bars and some others are still being tried. Those who attempt at breaking our nation down will answer for it,” Erdoğan said.

During a meeting with muhtars (local headmen) in May 2016, Erdoğan also referred to an alleged superior mind behind the so-called “Fethullahist Terrorist Organization/Parallel State Structure (FETÖ/PDY),” which is used by the government-backed judiciary to frame sympathizers of the Gülen movement.

“The true power that encourages and nurtures the terrorist organization is the dark support behind it. As I always say, it is the superior mind at work. The parallel structure, betraying the nation it has sponged off for years, has turned into an operational tool at other powers’ disposal,” Erdoğan said.

Since a corruption investigation came to public attention on Dec. 17, 2013, there have been many police operations carried out targeting shopkeepers, teachers, members of the judiciary, journalists and police officers who are accused of being affiliated with the Gülen movement, which is also known as the Hizmet movement. The graft probe implicated then-Prime Minister Erdoğan, members of his family and senior Justice and Development Party (AK Party) figures. 

Erdoğan accused the Gülen movement of plotting to overthrow his government and said that sympathizers of the movement within the police department had fabricated the graft scandal. Since then, hundreds of police officers have been detained and some arrested for alleged illegal activity in the course of the corruption investigation. Erdoğan said he would carry out a “witch hunt” against anyone with links to the movement. The Gülen movement strongly rejects the allegations brought against it.