Turkey’s Health Ministry has launched an investigation into the production of a one-minute, 56-second commercial due to the resemblance of one of the actors to US-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen, who has been accused by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of orchestrating a coup attempt in 2016, although he strongly denies it.
Produced by the ministry’s Ankara office to advertise the services of the Health Ministry, the video features an old man resembling the 77-year-old Gülen who gets sick at home.
According to a Diken news website report, suspicion was aroused after the commercial was sent to public broadcaster TRT.
Three ministry staff members were fired as soon as the investigation was launched.
Officials from the ministry said there were close to 30 subliminal messages in the short video.
Turkish authorities have exhibited signs of paranoia since the failed coup, with the İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality in October changing the names of the 90 streets in the city because they had connotations to brands affiliated with the Gülen movement.
Zaman, Samanyolu and Işık streets were among those changed, as Zaman (time) was the name of a newspaper affiliated with the movement, Samanyolu (Milky Way) was the name of an affiliated TV station and Işık (light) was used by the movement for several brands.
The Erdoğan government launched a post-coup crackdown targeting followers of the movement and dismissed some 140,000 public servants by decree. More than 600,000 people were investigated on terrorism charges.