KUALA LUMPUR: Turkish ambassador to Malaysia Basak Turkoglu today advised all nations with diplomatic ties, warning them of the threat posed by the Fethullah Gulen-linked network. Referred to as the Fethullah Gulen Terrorist Organisation (FETO), Turkoglu said the group, which began as a moderate Islamic educational movement in the 1970s, had morphed into a clandestine network responsible for the failed but deadly coup attempt on July 15.
“This is not a political movement, as they have no foothold in Turkish politics. Thus they had infiltrated all facets, including the military, which eventually resulted in the coup attempt,” said Turkoglu. In a press briefing over the matter at the Turkish Embassy here yesterday, Turkoglu reiterated that the July 15 plot, which resulted in 286 deaths, 256 of which were civilians, was not a military coup but one planned by a rogue group within the military.
As a result, a 90-day state of emergency was declared by Turkish presiden Recep Tayyip Erdogan, following which 15,846 suspected Gulenists were detained, of which 8,133 were arrested for links with the self-proclaimed cleric, who has lived in exile in the United States since 1999. On Wednesday, Turkey called for Thailand to sever ties with the Bangkok-based Thai-Turkish Business Association (TTBA) for having links with Gulen, but Turkoglu said it is yet to be determined whether such elements exist in Malaysia.
“Gulen’s links abroad are usually through educational institutions, which are used to influence and indoctrinate students,” said Turkoglu. “What we can confirm is that the Turkish Education Ministry, which funds official educational programmes abroad, has not established any schools or programmes here.” She also refuted allegations of abuse by Turkish authorities of those detained for links to the coup plot, stating that certain non-governmental organisations and media had raised allegations without ascertaining the facts.
“It has to be clear that this is a betrayal of the Turkish people by FETO. No military on earth would fire against its own people. As you can see from the pictures of people in the streets, they are carrying Turkish flags,” she said. “This was a plot against the democratic and constitutional rights of Turkey and not just people, you can see posters of Erdogan with the opposition leaders, standing side by side against this.”