The Turkish Ambassador has warned that Botswana may not be completely immune to the threat posed by Fethulah Gulen’s Terrorist Organization (FETO), which has been linked to the 2016 failed coup to remove Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan. Addressing the media at his official residence in Gaborone on Thursday, ─░brahim Ya─ƒl─▒ said Botswana (and the rest of Africa) should join hands to prevent FETO infiltration.
The ambassador was speaking on the eve of the July 15 first anniversary of the failed coup that claimed 250 lives. The coup attempt has been blamed on FETO founder, Muhammed Fethullah G├╝len. The Muslim cleric, based in the US, has denied any responsibility for the coup. But the Turkish government is demanding his extradition from the US, where he has been in exile since 1999.
“All the evidence points to a self-established Messianic preacher, Gulen’s Terrorist Organization which was behind the failed coup d’├®tat,” the Turkish ambassador told the media.
“This fake ‘’Messiah’s” organization stealthily infiltrated State structures over the past 30 years.” He said while they were positioning themselves, FETO also established a global network of schools and other establishments with aspirations of political power and dominance.
He said the international network has reached to such an extent that they are present in more than 150 countries around the world through schools, NGO’s, lobbyists, media outlets and companies.
Ya─ƒl─▒ said with FETO being active in many countries, Turkey’s ongoing fight to decipher and arrest the members of the ‘highly dangerous’ international group needs the support of all concerned countries.
“Although confronting such a dark, sinister and clandestine structure is not easy, fighting FETO was carried out by three things that they despise most: rule of law, morality and democracy.” He said the coup attempt aimed to assassinate President Erdogan and replace both the constitutional order and parliamentary democracy with a military junta.
The 15th of July has since been named ‘Democracy and National Unity Day’ in Turkey. “That heroic night and the immeasurable sacrifice of the Turkish people will always be remembered. Apart from the loyal armed forces and police, it was a victory of the Turkish people against the tyrants and plotters,” the ambassador said. FETO is a transnational Islamic civic society movement inspired by Gulen’s teachings.
Last year, in an attempted coup, a faction of the Turkish military bombed government buildings, blocked roads and bridges and attempted to overthrow Turkish President. The coup attempt was quelled by the next day. Tens of thousands were arrested and more than 100,000 civil servants, university professors and soldiers were fired following the coup attempt. A State of Emergency was declared immediately after the foiled terrorist coup attempt which allowed the state organs to act swiftly and effectively. It remains to be seen if US President Donald Trump will accede to the Turkish government’s demand for Gulen’s extradition.