The Turkish Ambassador to The Gambia, His Excellency Ergin Soner, has asserted that his country would continue to fight the enemies of democracy through the use of democratic means.
He was speaking at a press conference, at the Embassy in Brufut Heights yesterday as he briefed the media on the current situation of the tri-continental country in the aftermath of the July 15, foiled coup blamed on a group the Turkish government declared as the Fethullah Terrorist Organisation (FETO).
The Hizmet Movement, loyalists of the self-exiled Fethullah Gulen, Ambassador Soner said, targeted the legitimate government, the country’s elected president, the constitutional order as well as the civilian people, noting that the democracy the Turkish nation cherishes was at stake.
“The process of trying the arrested suspects is ongoing in various competent Turkish courts. I have the conviction that all suspects will have a fair trial because Turkey is a bastion of democratic norms and values along with human rights and the rule of law,” he said, affirming that the Turkish nation and her leadership expect solidarity from its allies and friends.
“Before I go further, I would love to note that the Gambian leadership has demonstrated this needed solidarity with Turkey since the early hours of the events and we commend H.E. President Jammeh for that.’’
Ambassador Soner said it is apparent that the Gulen network has over the past decades infiltrated all state and non-state institutions. The Movement’s infiltration into the Turkish state, he added, dates back to the late 1980s, saying that the recent attempt was staged by a clique inside the Turkish Armed Forces with links to the Organisation.
He said the perpetrators of the abortive coup were military officers who had risen to critical positions which were vacated by the “sham Sledgehammer Trial.” Operation Sledgehammer, he added is the name of an alleged Turkish military coup planned dating back to 2003.
“The accusation that the coup attempt was led by Gulenist generals is not based on simple assertion. The claim is backed by statements of those under arrest and information from multiple agencies. One of Fethullah Gulen’s sermons which were included in the indictment of 1999 epitomizes Gulen’s belief in secretive and incremental takeover from within and that the change should come from the bottom up,” Ambassador Soner affirmed.
He added that the Gulenist Movement is embraced by the western media and politicians as a promoter of peace and interfaith dialogue, which he said is an absolute false picture of the Group. ‘’Fethullah Gullen actually left Turkey subsequent to a trial that charged him with toppling the secular state in 1999. I am proud to state that the coup failed not only because of the ever determined Turkish Armed Forces but also due to the obvious fact that it was not embraced by the Turkish nation,” he said, adding that Turkish democracy won a battle that night, but noted there is also the war to win to fully finish this painful episode of their lives.
by Alhagie Babou Jallow & Binta Jammeh