Press release

FOURTH ANNIVERSARY OF TURKEY’S STRUGGLE AGAINST FETO: CELEBRATING DEMOCRACY’S VICTORY WHILE PREVENTING IMPUNITY

14 july, 2020
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Gurol Sokmensuer,

Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey to the Republic of Moldova

Fouryears have passed since the FETO terrorist organization under the leadership of Fetullah Gulen planned and tried to capture the Turkish Republic through orchestrating a coup attempt on 15 July 2016. This bloodiest terrorist attack in the history of Turkey failed thanks to the Turkish nation’s standing against in unity, and resulted in triumph of democracy.

Fetullah Gulen’s disciples within the armed forces did not hesitate to use lethal military force against innocent people. Hundreds of civilians protesting the coup attempt in Ankara and Istanbul were shot to death. 251 people were killed and thousands were wounded.

The coup plotters tried to assassinate the President of the Republic of Turkey. They attacked the Presidential Complex, the Prime Minister’s vehicle, the buildings of the National Intelligence Organization and Turkish National Police departments. They air-bombarded the Grand National Assembly. Fighter jets bombed the Police Special Operations Center, which is the crucial counter-terrorism operational body of Turkey in Ankara. This attack killed 55 police officers and injured hundreds. They also targeted public and private communication outlets, including TRT (state broadcasting channel) and CNN Türk.

All the evidence that has been collected so far through investigations and trials clearly reveal that the coup attempt was orchestrated by FETO under the orders of Fetullah Gulen. To judge the deeds of Fetullah Gulen and FETO only with what transpired on July 15th would be a mistake. The crimes committed on the night of July 15th were just the tip of an iceberg.

It all started under the guise of a charitable education effort back in the 1970s. It is now clear that this was the first step of an infiltration campaign. Through this campaign, kids and their parents were recruited with the seemingly innocent promise of a better education with academic and financial help and a good job. These kids who were registered to their schools were heavily indoctrinated. As a result, they turned into unquestioning foot soldiers of Fetullah Gulen, who claims to be the “Chosen One”. The ultimate goal was to destroy democratic Turkish state and to establish a new anti-democratic order under the absolute rule of Gulen.

Gulen’s followers were taught that they should remain hidden in order to achieve their ultimate goal.

The organization applied the practice of giving “code” names to its members with a view to ensuring secrecy. In this way, this is a unique and peculiar armed terrorist organization where its lower level members know each other by their code names.

The FETO members staffed at critical governmental posts kept their indoctrination up-to-date and followed the instructions of FETO. As civil servants or military personnel, their loyalty was not to their nation or their state, but to Fetullah Gulen. They abused their power to eliminate those who oppose FETO by illegal wiretapping, fabricating evidence and unlawful arrests. In order to infiltrate deeper into the critical government posts, FETO organized mass-scale exam cheatings. As its strength grew, FETO started to establish media houses and to meddle in business transactions.

FETO is globally organized as well. At the peak of their power, they controlled thousands of schools in Turkey and more than eight hundred educational institutes worldwide. In terms of their global reach, ambitions and methods, they were unprecedented. FETO is currently active in around 160 countries with educational institutions, NGOs, media houses and businesses. They have the same working logic all around the world. Therefore, they pose a direct threat for any country where it is active.

However, FETO becomes weaker and weaker each passing day thanks to Turkey’s determined struggle against it both inside and outside.

The struggle at home is carried out under three pillars. Firstly, the perpetrators of the 15th of July coup attempt have been brought to justice on the basis of the rule of law. Several judicial processes are still ongoing under the responsibility of relevant authorities. Secondly, FETO’s organizational structure within governmental institutions has been unveiled; administrative and judicial procedures have been initiated against its members and hence the “parallel state structure” has been brought down. Lastly, FETO’s attempts to spread across all areas of the economy by way of its shell entities, particularly in the education, media and banking sectors have been prevented.

Despite facing extraordinary security challenges and FETO’s more aggressive and insidious attacks, Turkey has managed to fight against FETO inside in compliance with the principles of the rule of law and fundamental rights and freedoms.

Against this backdrop, FETO has undergone a significant transformation. Since it lost its backbone in Turkey, FETO is now trying to survive by relying on its structure abroad. Thus, fighting against the structures of FETO abroad is very crucial for Turkey and we intensified efforts. Our main objective is to demonstrate and prove that FETO is a serious threat also to the security of other countries where it remains active. We therefore continue to warn our friends.

We are glad to see that our efforts are paying off, with an increased awareness against FETO. As one of the concrete results, vital resolutions adopted by several international organizations regarding FETO are worth mentioning: A resolution declaring FETO a terrorist organization was adopted at the 43rd session of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Council of Foreign Ministers held on 19 October 2016. The Asian Parliamentary Assembly also declared FETO a terrorist organization on 1 December 2016. Finally, FETO was declared a terrorist organization at the 12th Conference of the Parliamentary Union of the OIC on 27 January 2017.

On 9 August 2019, four party groups with different policy discourse in the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, including the opposition parties, adopted a joint statement on FETO. The statement has called Turkey’s allies and partners to take steps against this terrorist organization and its leader.

In addition, Turkey has taken administrative measures and launched legal proceedings to limit the maneuvering space of the FETO terrorist organization abroad and to prevent its members from transferring money and escaping justice. In the framework of investigations conducted in Turkey, the extradition and the freezing of the assets of FETO members have been requested from the relevantcountries. The awareness raised regarding FETO in third countries has also stimulated closer monitoring and investigation of the activities related to these elements by the officials of some countries. Unlawful acts carried out by FETO-affiliated organizations have thus been revealed in various countries.

Moreover, the Turkish Maarif Foundation continues its activities all around the world to prevent any inconveniences that may result from the steps taken against FETO, especially in the field of education. FETO-affiliated schools and education centers in 38 countries were closed down or taken over by the relevant country. In 20 of these, the affiliated schools and education centers have been transferred to the Turkish Maarif Foundation. Also, Turkish Maarif Foundation has opened schools in 22 countries.

As a result, we do celebrate 15 July, which is the day of triumph of Turkish nation, as the “Democracy and National Unity Day” since 2017. We will continue our efforts with determination to prevent impunity to the coup plotters, who did not shy away from killing and wounding people and trampling underfoot the human rights that they now try to hide behind to escape justice. However, these heinous acts should not remain unpunished. In this process, we attach great importance to cooperation with our foreign partners, for whom FETO is a great danger as well.

We will never forget our martyrs who gave their lives for the salvation of the nation. On the occasion of the fourth anniversary, we honoured the memory of our 251 martyrs, by donating 251 food packages to the families of Moldovan martyrs and veterans. The sacrifices of our martyrs, who are immortal indeed, will never be erased from our minds.

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