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Turkish ambassador clarifies

Mar 11. 2018
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I have read with dismay the interview published in your newspaper on March 8, under the unacceptably misleading title of “Tentacles of Turkey’s growing autocracy reach Thailand”. 

The extent to which it is full of unfounded allegations is appalling. Therefore, with all due respect to editorial independence, I deem it necessary to bring to your attention the following:

The interview given is yet another attempt to whitewash the FETO movement. 

It voices the views of an individual who is apparently aiming to give a wrong image of the developments taking place in Turkey and to distort public opinion by falsifying the facts.

This is not surprising given the person interviewed admits to being a supporter of the FETO network. What he hides from the readers is that FETO is the mastermind of the July 15 terrorist coup attempt against the democratic and constitutional order of Turkey in 2016.

Thus, the ugly claims in the interview about Turkey, its democracy and its democratically elected president, do nothing but erode the principle of highest standards of truth and accuracy in informing the public. 

In order to set the record straight, allow me to inform your readers about the July 15 terrorist coup attempt perpetrated by FETO, recognised also as a terrorist organisation by the Asian Parliamentary Assembly and the Organisation of the Islamic Cooperation of which Thailand is respectively a member and an observer.

On July 15, 2016 a terrorist plot aimed at seizing control of the State unravelled like a terrifying nightmare, with the bombing of the Turkish Grand National Assembly followed by other attacks including those on the Presidential Compound and the Police Special Force Headquarters. The perpetrators tried to assassinate the president and the prime minister of Turkey.

The perpetrators of this hideous undertaking, the disciples of Fetullah Gulen, the man who calls himself “Imam of the Universe”, did not hesitate for a second to use lethal military hardware against civilians who stood against them to protect their country. These people in the streets were brutally shot, run over by tanks or gunned down from the air. When the terrorist plot was thwarted by the support and sacrifices of our people, they had already taken the lives of 250 people and wounded more than 2,000.

July 15 was a stark revelation of the existential threat posed by this group that targeted the very foundations of the Turkish state. But it also proved a test of strength and perseverance for the State structures and our people. All political parties, both in government and in opposition, the uninfected elements of the armed forces, the police forces and the media stood up against these terrorists. More importantly, on the call of President Erdogan, Turkish women and men from all walks of life and all ages heroically resisted, displaying solidarity by standing selflessly against the perpetrators and their weapons to protect their country. 

 Whereas other terrorist organisations like Daesh or YPG strike from the outside, FETO penetrated the state structures with the aim of taking control of military, police, the judiciary, revenue agencies, among others.

Camera footage reveals Gulen telling his followers to “avoid detection and infiltrate” all levels of the state down to its “capillaries”. Cloaking this sinister and heinous agenda, this Group which calls itself the Hizmet (service) Movement has formed a broad network of schools, NGOs, and businesses and covertly infiltrated into public offices to overthrow the democratically elected government in Turkey to seize control of the State.

Following this attempt by FETO to overthrow democracy by force, Turkey is now going through a necessary phase during which the government is taking measures to make sure that FETO members, including sleeper cells, are removed from all structures. 

During this process, Turkish legislative, executive and judiciary bodies act within the confines of law. Mechanisms to review decisions are in force. 

The government has declared on numerous occasions that the state of emergency will end as soon as there is no longer a need for it. 

It is the Turkish government’s wish to return to normalcy and back to our natural course, contrary to allegations stemming from the defamation campaign of the FETO followers abroad.

FETO affiliates continue their activities in some other countries under the guise of charity organisations, think tanks, press, trade, education and health agencies. However, as a result of the efforts of our authorities and bilateral cooperation with other countries, their presence abroad is also shrinking. In many countries their organisations are closed down by local authorities.

Last but not least, the piece published without seeking comment from the embassy, contains an affront to the sacrifices of the Turkish people who literally stood up to the bullets of FETO, on whose mouthpiece the opinion piece unfortunately relies.

Evren Dagdelen Akgun

Ambassador of Turkey

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