July 15, 2016 Coup attempt in Turkey ‘A night of defiance’

DIPLOMATIC POUCH - Artemiz Sümer (The Philippine Star) - July 19, 2020 - 12:00am

It has been four years since we thwarted the bloodiest terror attack in the history of the Republic of Turkey. On the night of July 15, 2016 with the aim to overthrow the government, the Fettullahist terror organization (FETÖ) and its disciples infiltrated the armed forces did and not shy away from using lethal military arms against innocent civilians, martyring 251 of our citizens and wounding thousands.

On the night of the treacherous plot, the terrorists attempted to assassinate the President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an, attacked Prime Minister Binali Y?ld?r?m’s vehicle and took hostage the Chief of General Staff (the current Minister of Defense) General Hulusi Akar. The plotters airbombarded with fighter jets the Grand National Assembly, the Presidential Complex, the buildings of the National Intelligence Organization and the Turkish National Police Operations Centres, martyring 55 police officers.

Following the call of our President, the Turkish nation as a whole, stood up and heroically defended the Turkish democracy against the plotters armed with guns and tanks.

The extensive factual evidence collected so far throughout the investigations and judicial trials demonstrate that this bloodiest terrorist attack was orchestrated by FETÖ under the instructions of the ringleader Fetullah Gülen, who claims to follow a “messianic mission” at a global level as the “imam of the universe” and “the chosen one”.

The judicial process, carried out on the basis of the rule of law and the protection of fundamental rights and freedoms against the perpetrators of the coup attempt and illegal activities of FETÖ members, is still ongoing.

Moreover, the Turkish government has taken administrative measures and initiated legal proceedings to limit the maneuvering space of FETÖ abroad and to prevent its members from escaping justice.

Currently, FETÖ has a network in 160 countries with thousands of schools, businesses, NGOs and media houses. Their strategy is the same all around the world; as they aim to infiltrate and enlarge their global economic and political influence, they constitute a direct threat to the national security of the countries where they operate. Thus, within the scope of investigations conducted in Turkey, our government has requested the countries to ban all the activities of FETÖ affiliated structures as well as to freeze the assets of FETÖ members and their extradition to Turkey.

With regard to Turkey’s request based on the evidences provided following this heinous attempt, it has been understood by many countries that FETÖ is not a social movement which deals with education and charity as it tries to launch itself, but a clandestine, criminal and terrorist organization.

In this context, 20 countries which closely monitored and investigated the activities of FETÖ, have uncovered the unlawful proceedings of the organization and deported 110 of its members to Turkey.

Furthermore, the large amount of tuition fees collected from the students attending FETÖ affiliated educational structures in foreign countries, is still one of the essential financial sources of this terrorist organization. Thus, 36 countries have closed FETÖ affiliated schools and language courses and 18 countries have successfully transferred the schools to Turkish Maarif Foundation (TMV) which is an educational institution besides the Turkish Ministry of National Education of Turkey. TMV has also opened schools in 22 countries.

The recognition of FETÖ as a terrorist organization by international organizations such as the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and the Asian Parliamentary Assembly, is another important development along this process.

Our government will decisively continue to struggle against FETÖ and its members in Turkey and abroad.

In light of all these, the 15th of July is designated as one of the memorial days of Turkey under the name of “Democracy and National Unity Day”.

We remember with deep respect our heroes who sacrificed their lives to defend the Turkish democracy.

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(Artemiz Sümer is Turkey’s ambassador to the Philippines)

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