Turkish Ambassador briefs the press

Sarjo Camara Singateh

The ambassador of Turkey to the Gambia, Ergin Soner held a press briefing yesterday, 16th of August 2016 at his office in Brufut.

Addressing the reporters, he said the reason for inviting the media to a briefing is to update them on the current situation in Turkey in the aftermath of the undesirable events that took place in his country on the night of July 15th.

“As you may recall, on Friday, July 15, at around 9 pm, despicable terrorists of the Fethullah terrorist organisation – Feto (Gulen group) targeted the legitimate government, the country’s elected president, the constitutional order as well as the civilian people and the democracy the Turkish nation cherish was at stake,” he said.

According to him, it is apparent that the Gulen  Feto terror network has over the past decades infiltrated into all state and non-state institutions and that this dates back to the late 1980s. He remarked, “For example, this coup was staged by a clique inside the Turkish armed forces linked with the Fethullah Gulen terrorist organisation.”

The perpetrators of the coup, he said, were the military officers who had risen to critical positions which were vacated by the sham sledgehammer trial. He said ‘Operation Sledgehammer’ is the name of an alleged Turkish military coup plan dating back to 2003 and that the accusation that the coup attempt was led by Gulenist generals is not based on simple force of assertion.

According to the Tuirkish ambassador, one of Fethullah Gulen’s sermons, which was included in the indictment of 1999, epitomises the Gulen’s believe in secretive and incremental takeover from within and that the change should come from the bottom up. He added that the Gulen movement is embraced by the western media and politicians as a promoter of peace and interfaith dialogue – which is absolutely false picture of Gulen and his movement.

He said Fethullah  Gullen actually left turkey subsequent to a trial that charged him with toppling the secular state in 1999.

He noted that tragically, 246 Turkish citizens lost their lives during this violent terror campaign – of those, regrettably, were 179 innocent civilians who just stood bravely in front of the tanks and reclaimed their democratic rights.

“The process of trying the arrested suspects is ongoing in various competent Turkish courts”. He added “I have the conviction that all suspects will have a fair trial because Turkey is a bastion of democratic universal values and norms along with human rights and the rule of law,” said Ambassador Soner.

Ambassador Soner said the declaration of the state of emergency, by president Erdogan on July 20 is neither to restrict fundamental rights and freedoms of their citizens, nor to compromise democracy or the rule of law. He said it serves to act in the most speedy and effective manner in the fight against the Feto terrorist organisation and return to normalcy as soon as possible.

“Although the state of emergency has been declared for 90 days, we aim to end it as soon as the fight against the Feto terrorist organisation is successfully attained. Naturally, during the state of emergency, judicial remedies are available, against these measures including the right of individual application to the constitutional court, not to mention the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR),” said the Turkish ambassador.

However, the press conference concluded without any question and answer session.