THE Turkish embassy in Zimbabwe today commemorates the foiled 2016 coup attempt against the government of Turkey.
The attack was carried out on the evening of July 15, 2016, by the “Fethullahist Terrorist Organization” (FETO), which wanted to establish a radical, fundamentalist regime, loyal only to their ringleader Fetullah Gülen.
Turkey’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, His Excellency Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said in a statement that on the fateful day, thousands of civilians took to the streets to stop the coup attempt after FETO affiliated army units took hold of strategic buildings such as the Parliament; Presidential compound; army and police headquarters.
“On that July night, the Turkish people paid for democracy with their lives as FETO army killed 251 innocent civilians and left thousands injured.
“FETO has infiltrated many arms of the government under the disguise of promoting education and inter-religious dialogue, started in the late 1960s,” he said.
At the time, FETO controlled a significant portion of educational institutions and numerous financial institutions funded by prominent FETO members in the industry and commerce as well as by officials and members of the public.
After the failed coup attempt of July 15, 2016, a decision was made to cleanse the public and private sector; government institutions and the military from all FETO affiliated persons and companies.
Fethullah Gülen, the head of the FETO terrorist organisation escaped and he still resides in the United States.
Some of his co-conspirators where arrested, but other escaped to neighbouring countries.
The Turkish government has been requesting the extradition of Gülen and some of the FETO members from USA and European countries for years and no positive response has been forthcoming.
FETO influence is widespread in many European countries and some of the countries have realised its threat and are working towards eliminating the influence and stopping the growth of the organisation in the region, noted H.E. Cavusoglu.
Most schools that were being run by FETO have since been transferred to the Turkish Maarif Foundation and are operating like any other school.
The Turkish government expects the international community to stand in solidarity with them in the fight against terrorism, as no state has the luxury to differentiate between terrorists and no terrorist organisation can be classified as “useful”.