Three important years have passed since the 15th of July coup attempt carried out by the FETO terrorist organization.
The 15th of July coup attempt was planned by the FETO leadership and carried out by members of the organization, whom infiltrated into our army by disobeying the chain of command of the armed forces. This heinous act constitutes the deadliest terrorist attack that Turkey has ever experienced.
We have never before witnessed such savagery and treachery in our history as the one exhibited by the perpetrators of this coup attempt: our Parliament Building, the Presidential complex, the building of the National Intelligence Organization (MIT), buildings of the Turkish National Police, the Headquarters of the Police Special Operations Department located in Ankara were bombed by rogue pilots.
Tanks were driven to the streets to mow down innocent civilians, while helicopters and jets dropped bombs from the air and shot everyone in sight. The Fetullahist traitors disguised as soldiers did not shy away from bombing their brothers-in-arms. It has not been possible to reach the bodies of fifty-one police officers who were martyred as a result of intense bombing that targeted the Police Special Operations Department Headquarters in our Capitol city, Ankara.
That night, two hundred and fifty one citizens were killed and more than two thousand people were injured.
The 15th of July coup attempt revealed the grave threat posed by the FETO terrorist organization against our State. In order to fully understand all aspects of the 15th of July coup attempt, it is imperative to consider this dark network, beginning from schools and prep schools established over the last few decades by FETO. By brainwashing young minds at schools founded under the disguise of so-called training activities, they indoctrinated a large group of radical followers, who carried out the instructions of the organization’s leadership unquestioningly and violated all legal and moral norms.
Graduates of these schools were able to infiltrate the most critical institutions of the State by stealing exam questions; furthermore, those considered as an obstacle to the organization were treacherously eliminated as FETO conspired against them.
FETO strengthened its economic and political influence by abusing the State’s resources and authority for the vile interests of the organization. On the 15th of July, we were able to grasp the sheer size of the secret structure established by FETO within our most critical institution, the Turkish Armed Forces.
The Turkish people who have stood against this horrific threat have fervently and courageously demonstrated to the world that they did not recognize any power over their will and stood ready to sacrifice their lives to protect their State and the democratic system.
In the past three years, the fight against FETO both inside and outside Turkey has constituted one of the main priorities of our State. Within Turkey, our efforts are being conducted under three pillars:
Firstly, on the basis of the rule of law, the perpetrators of the 15th of July coup attempt have been brought to justice.
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.
Thirdly, apart from those within the governmental institutions, FETO’s attempts to spread across all areas of the economy via its shell entities, particularly in the education, media and banking sectors, have been thwarted.
Despite facing extraordinary security challenges, we have been able to successfully conduct our fight at home in compliance with the principles of the rule of law and fundamental rights and freedoms. We have also expended efforts to avoid grievances and established new mechanisms to examine and settle alleged grievances.
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 our efforts is to demonstrate and prove the fact that FETO also poses a threat to the security of other countries where it remains active. In this regard, the concrete examples gathered indicate that FETO does not hesitate to violate laws by acting almost like an secretive intelligence service and points out to the fact that it aims to establish political and economic zones of influence that permits the creation of structures similar to those in Turkey in other countries that it has spread to since the 1990s.
Moreover, we have taken administrative measures and initiated legal proceedings to limit the maneuvering space of the FETO terrorist organization abroad and to prevent its members from transferring money and escaping justice. 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 Turkish Maarif Foundation (TMF) maintains its activities all around the world to prevent any shortfalls resulting from the steps taken against FETO, especially in the field of education.
With the contribution of our missions abroad that implement intensive efforts within the framework summarized above, we are gaining traction and getting concrete results.
Most importantly, the international community is gradually understanding that FETO is not a social movement that engages with education and charity, contrary to the way it tries to portray itself, but rather a dark and insidious organization with political and economic ambitions. A clear awareness regarding the characteristics of the organization has developed among public opinions abroad.
Various countries and international organizations have declared FETO as a terrorist organization. In this context, FETO was declared as a terrorist organization in the 43rd session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the OIC held on Oct 19, 2016; a similar resolution was written at the Asian Parliamentary Assembly on Dec 1, 2016 and ratified at the 12th Conference of the Parliamentary Union of the OIC on Jan 27, 2017. In addition to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, the Supreme Court of Pakistan declared FETO a terrorist organization with the verdict rendered on Dec 28, 2018.
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 the aforementioned countries. Unlawful acts carried out by FETO-affiliated organizations have thus been revealed in various countries. The members of the organization have been deported accordingly. In addition to those deported to third countries, more than one hundred and ten FETO members from over twenty countries have been extradited to Turkey.
TMF has taken over FETO affiliated schools in eighteen countries. The activities of FETO affiliated schools and language courses have been terminated in thirty-six countries.
Our efforts have increased the pressure on the members of the organization living abroad and there has been a serious constriction within the structuring of the organization abroad along with its capabilities. The number of FETO members attempting to escape the countries in which they are active has been on the rise, particularly in Africa, as well as Turkey.
While experiencing a visible disruption in its global network, the organization still strives to make up victimization stories by resorting to unfounded news through the use of their existing media outlets. It also attempts to strengthen cooperation with circles hostile to Turkey by using PR and lobbying methods.
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.
We appreciate the solidarity and cooperation that Kuwait demonstrated from the first moment of the failed coup.
By Ayse Hilal Sayan Koytak
Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey in Kuwait