FETO threatens humanity as a whole; Türkiye continues its resolute fight against FETO

Commemorating the 6th anniversary of the thwarted coup attempt in Türkiye

H.E. Mevlut Cavusoglu – Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkiye

by H.E. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu,
Minister of Foreign Affairs,
The Republic of Türkiye.

(RAHNUMA) On the evening of July 15, 2016, the “Fethullahist Terrorist Organization” (FETO) launched a bloody coup attempt against the people and the government of my country. Their aim was to establish a radical, fundamentalist regime, loyal only to their ringleader Fetullah Gülen.

As FETO-affiliated army units left their barracks to occupy key locations, such as the Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul and fighter jets and attack helicopters bombed strategic targets including the Parliament, Presidential compound, army and police headquarters; thousands of civilians took to the streets to stop this unprecedented heinous coup attempt. The plotters killed 251 innocent civilians and left thousands injured. On that night the Turkish people defended democracy with their lives. This heroic response was something the conspirators did not foresee.

FILE – In this Sept. 24, 2013 file photo, Turkish Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen is pictured at his residence in Saylorsburg, Pa. A lawyer for the Turkish government, Robert Amsterdam, said that “there are indications of direct involvement” in the Friday, July 15, 2016, coup attempt of Fethullah Gulen, a Muslim cleric who is living in exile in Pennsylvania. He said he and his firm “have attempted repeatedly to warn the U.S. government of the threat posed” by Gulen and his movement. (AP Photo/Selahattin Sevi, File)

To understand what transpired, one has to understand the true nature of FETO. FETO was established in the late 1960s as a so-called “religious movement”. In the guise of promoting education and inter-religious dialogue, it managed to cover its malign intentions.

The well-planned and widespread infiltration by FETO members and converts into the army, law enforcement, judiciary and numerous government institutions, including my Ministry, was carried out for decades clandestinely for an overarching plan, of which the final phase was unleashed on July 15, 2016.

Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen is pictured at his residence in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania September 26, 2013. Born in Erzurum, eastern Turkey, Gulen built up his reputation as a Muslim preacher with intense sermons that often moved him to tears. From his base in Izmir, he toured Turkey stressing the need to embrace scientific progress, shun radicalism and build bridges to the West and other faiths. The first Gulen school opened in 1982. In the following decades, the movement became a spectacular success, setting up hundreds of schools that turned out generations of capable graduates, who gravitated to influential jobs in the judiciary, police, media, state bureaucracy and private business. Picture taken September 26, 2013. To match Insight TURKEY-ERDOGAN/GULEN REUTERS/Selahattin Sevi/Zaman Daily via Cihan News Agency (UNITED STATES – Tags: POLITICS RELIGION)

Had the coup attempt succeeded, there would have been a very different Türkiye today. Democracy would not have existed and fundamental rights and freedoms would have been suspended indefinitely. The nation would have fallen in the hands of an extremist government.

FETO not only controlled a significant portion of educational institutions but also owned numerous financial institutions. Their bank accounts were fed by prominent FETO members in industry and commerce, as well as by officials and members of the public. Many innocent civilians were also lured into contributing to FETO’s finances as their piety was manipulated. The enormous income-driven from their schools around the globe was channeled into these accounts clandestinely waiting for their ultimate move.

Turkish soldiers accused of involvement in an attempted coup in 2016 arriving at court inside the Sincan Prison in Ankara in 2017.Credit…Adem Altan/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Following the bloody coup attempt of July 15, 2016, a resolute cleansing of the public sector, including government institutions and the military, as well as of the private sector from all FETO affiliated persons and companies was initiated. Some prominent conspirators have been apprehended. Others escaped justice and found refuge in foreign countries. The head of the FETO terrorist organization, Fethullah Gülen, still resides in the United States. Our government has been requesting the extradition of Gülen to Türkiye from the United States as well as that of FETO members from European countries for years. Unfortunately, these requests have not been fulfilled yet.

On the other hand, elsewhere in the world, an increasing number of governments understand the danger this terrorist organization also poses to them and are taking the necessary steps. FETO is also engaged in illegal activities such as visa fraud, money laundering, and arms trafficking. Consequently, FETO members are being cleared from public and private sectors in many countries. Many schools affiliated with this terrorist organization abroad have been transferred to the Turkish Maarif Foundation after 2016. Today, Maarif Schools are functioning in many countries and are providing excellent education worldwide.

Former four-star Gen. Akın Öztürk, the highest-ranking military member involved in FETÖ’s 2016 coup attempt, is escorted by soldiers to appear before a court in Ankara, Turkey, May 22, 2017. (AA Photo)

The nature and scope of Türkiye’s fight against FETO is no different than that exercised by other countries against organizations that had terrorized officials and civilians alike, and endangered democratic values, fundamental rights, and freedoms. Türkiye is doing what the respective countries in their fight against terrorism have done in the past. All procedures are in compliance with the law.

Terrorism does not have a nationality, ethnicity or religion. This menace threatens humanity as a whole. Therefore, the response to this threat must be united and determined. No state has the luxury to differentiate between terrorists and no terrorist organization can be classified as “useful” according to preferences. FETO is responsible for the loss of hundreds of lives as well as other grave crimes against the Turkish people. Six years after July 15, 2016, Türkiye continues its resolute fight against FETO, just as it continues its fight against other terrorist organizations such as the PKK, PYD-YPG, DHKP-C and DAESH.

We expect the international community to stand in solidarity with Türkiye in the fight against terrorism.

President Recep Tayyip Erdou011fan, accompanied by relatives of the dead and injured on July 15, 2015, prays at a memorial at the Beu015ftepe Presidential Palace Complex on the third anniversary of the bloody coup attempt. (AA Photo)
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