At another election rally in the northwestern city of Kirklareli, Erdogan accused Gulen loyalists of “espionage” that threatened national security and warned that they would pay a “heavy price.”
“They wiretapped Turkey’s very confidential and very strategic conversations, and disclosed them to other [enemies],” he said. “Can there be such treachery and lowness?”
Observers say that Gulen’s Hizmet movement risks losing millions of dollars in revenue once its Turkish educational institutions are closed down under the new legislation.
In other attempts to contain the political crisis, Erdogan’s government has recently pushed through legislation tightening state control over the Internet and the judiciary, raising questions at home and abroad about the state of democracy in Turkey.
Gulen, who has been living in the US since 1999 to escape charges of plotting against the secular state by the then-Turkish government, has denied any involvement in the corruption probe.
The Hizmet movement also runs an estimated 500 private schools elsewhere around the world.