Countries were also cautioned against the danger posed by the presence in various forms of the Fethullah Terrorist Organisation (FETO) – accused to be behind the July 15, 2016 coup – in their midst.
Speaking in Ankara, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said accusations levelled against Turkey as it dealt with the aftermath of the defeated coup were unwarranted.
“If Turkey was not a state of law and was not concerned about justice, the tens of thousands of traitors would have been lying in randomly opened pits and not in jails,” he said at an event related to the failed coup.
Erdogan said the country was betrayed that fateful night last year resulting in martyrdom of some 250 Turkish citizens and left over 2,000 injured.
The Turkish government has pointed an accusing finger at FETO and its United States-based ringleader Fethullah Gulen for the failed coup attempt aimed at overthrowing Erdogan and his government.
The power grab by his disciples in the army using military hardware was thwarted when ordinary Turks mounted a fierce resistance against the coup plotters who put in motion their treacherous plans mainly here and in Istanbul.
Erdogan criticised Turkey’s detractors for being more concerned about, for example, prison conditions of jailed coup plotters and the number of those incarcerated.
“But those injured by the coup participants are not getting any empathy. They are showing more empathy for the terrorists, not the victims,” he said.
Erdogan said that the emergency rule currently in place in Turkey would be lifted once all anti-terrorism goals set by the government were fulfilled.
At a separate event honouring journalists, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim paid tribute to ordinary Turks who “embraced their nation” in challenging the coup plotters face to face.
He vowed that those who took part or had a role in the defeated coup would receive the punishment they deserved within the framework of the law.
Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Dr Numan Kultumus said people should not be duped by FETO as it was not a benign civic education movement but one which had infiltrated Turkey’s military, police and judiciary – hence the need to weed them out from such institutions.
He said had the coup succeeded, there would no longer be democracy in Turkey and that it might drown in a civil war like what happened in some other countries.
“This is why the perpetrators of this betrayal, the coup plotters, will never be forgotten for what they’ve done,” he told international media covering commemorative events lined up by the government to mark the July 15 coup.
At a separate session with them, Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party deputy chairman and spokesman Mahir Unal noted that FETO was present in some 160 countries and there was a need for them to be wary of the body declared a terrorist organisation by the government.
“The same can happen in other countries. So we would like to draw the attention of these countries as well (to the danger posed by FETO),” he said.
It is said that FETO operates through schools, non-governmental organisations, lobbyists, media outlets and companies.
Hundreds of journalists from around the world are being hosted by the Directorate of Press and Information under the Republic of Turkey’s Prime Ministry to get a better picture of what happened on July 15 last year and the government’s subsequent handling of its aftermath.