Today whole Turkey is commemorating its martyrs and veterans, who thwarted the coup attempt of FETO Terrorist Organization four years ago on July 15th, as well as seizing this date to understand the meaning of our Democracy and National Unity Day.
There are important turning points in the histories of nations and states. July 15th is such a date for the Turkish Nation and the Republic of Turkey.
On the evening of 15 July 2016, a treacherous faction in the Turkish Armed Forces attempted to stage a coup in Turkey. From the very beginning, the command chain and the vast majority of the Turkish Armed Forces and Turkish Police Forces stand up against the coup attempt.
Fetullah Gülen is the mastermind behind what happened in Turkey on July 15th, 2016. Gülen and his followers planned and tried to capture the Turkish Republic on that date. That night, his disciples within the armed forces did not shy away from using lethal military force against innocent civilians, killing 251 and wounding thousands.
They tried to assassinate the President of the Republic of Turkey. They attacked the Prime Minister’s vehicle and air-bombarded the Grand National Assembly. The Presidential Complex, the buildings of the National Intelligence Organization and Turkish National Police departments were attacked. All the evidence collected so far throughout the investigations and trials demonstrates that the bloodiest terrorist attack in the history of Turkey was orchestrated by FETO Terrorist Organization under the instructions of Fetullah Gülen.
The Turkish people who have stood against this horrific threat have courageously demonstrated to the world that they did not recognise any power over their will and stood ready to sacrifice their lives to protect their State and the democratic system. If we look back to its growing up in the Turkish society and entrenchment in the state system, we see that their activities were started under the guise of a charitable education effort back in the 1970s.
Fetullah Gülen and his followers started the campaign of establishing schools in Turkey and later around the world.
At the peak of their power, they controlled thousands of schools in Turkey and more than eight hundred educational institutes worldwide. The kids were put through school with academic and financial help and mainly a heavy hand in indoctrination.
By the time most of them unfortunately turned into unquestioning foot soldiers of Fetullah Gülen. They were provided with the answers to entrance exams for prestigious government jobs. As civil servants or military personnel, their loyalty was not to the nation or to the state they served. They abused their positions and power in the state to destroy anyone who would stand in their way. Their deeds include cheating at the public examinations, racketeering, extortion, blackmail, wiretapping, orchestrating sham trials, fabricating evidence and even murder. They did not care about upholding the constitution or the legal system of the country.
As the organization grew stronger and became more affluent, it started meddling in business transactions. Financing was taken care of by holding companies and donations from business people. The organisation established media houses to shape the public opinion. These media houses became focal point of actions taken against journalists, academicians, bureaucrats and military officers, who opposed them, or tried to expose them. They were lynched and purged.
In the past four years, the fight against Fetullah Terrorist Organisation (FETO), FETO both inside and outside Turkey has constituted one of the main priorities of our State. Within Turkey, efforts are being conducted 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; Secondly, FETO’s organizational structure within the governmental institutions has been unveiled hence the “parallel state structure “has been brought down; and finally, FETO’s attempts to spread across all areas of the economy via its shell entities, particularly in the education, media and banking have been prevented. As these developments took place, FETO has undergone a significant transformation. The organization, which lost its backbone in Turkey, is now trying to survive by making use of its structure abroad.
Thus, fighting against the structures of FETO abroad has gained significance.
The fight against FETO structures abroad has been among the top priorities of the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The main objective of the efforts is to demonstrate and prove the fact that FETO also poses a threat to the security of other countries, where it remains active. Moreover, we have taken administrative measures and initiated legal proceedings to limit the manoeuvring space of the FETO terrorist organization abroad and within the scope of investigations conducted in Turkey, we have requested the extradition of the main ringleaders of the structures of FETO abroad from the countries where these persons are located.
The Supreme Court of Pakistan announced a verdict on December 28, 2018, ordering FETÖ to be designated a terrorist group under relevant Pakistani law and FETÖ-affiliated schools to be transferred to Türkiye Maarif Foundation. We would like to thank Pakistani brothers for their close cooperation against FETÖ structures and handing over the management of Pak Türk Schools to Turkish Maarif Foundation. With the contribution of our missions abroad that implement intensive efforts within the framework summarized above, we are gaining traction and getting concrete results.
Our efforts for fully eliminating the structures of FETO abroad constitutes a long-term fight. The Turkish Government will resolutely maintain its efforts in that regard. For us, the will of the people is above everything. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s proverb of “sovereignty rests unconditionally and unrestrictedly with the Nation” is in fact symbolizes the consciousness of democracy in Turkey. In the light of all these, 15th of July is designated as one of the national memorial days of Turkey under the name of “National Unity and Democracy Day”. Today we commemorate this national day. We commemorate our beloved martyrs who sacrificed their lives for Turkish democracy and the constitutional order of Turkey.
We will never forget our martyrs. Comminique issued by Turkish Consulate General in Lahore.
Thewriter is Counsel General of Republic of Turkey in Lahore