İlker Aycı, the chairman of Turkish Airlines (THY), joined in the black propaganda being spread against the Gülen movement, inspired by the views of US-based Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, who the Turkish government accuses of masterminding a failed coup on July 15, at a reception in İstanbul attended by foreign journalists.
Speaking to more than 120 journalists from 18 countries at THY’s İstanbul headquarters, Aycı targeted the schools established by Gülen followers abroad. Aycı told reporters that Gülen was active in many countries, including those of the journalists in attendance, and added, “We recommend you watch out for these schools that exist in your education systems.”
Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan accuse Gülen of masterminding the failed coup. Gülen and his sympathizers have continuously denied Erdoğan’s accusations.
Erdoğan even rejected a proposal by Gülen to form an international committee to investigate July’s failed coup in order to ascertain the perpetrators. Tens of thousands of people including bureaucrats, military officers, journalists and civilians have been purged by the AKP government since a 2013 corruption investigation, an operation that has speeded up since the July 15 coup attempt.
Turkey’s flagship airline has been a staunch supporter of government policies and in the hunt against the Gülen movement. Turkish media previously reported that THY shared lists of passengers with security forces and Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization, MİT, in order to identify Gülen sympathizers flying with THY.