Erdogan Warns World Against FETO
Turkish president addresses FETO threat, Syria crisis, Security Council structure in speech to UN General Assembly.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday urged world leaders to “immediately take all necessary steps” against the alleged perpetrator of a recent deadly coup attempt in Turkey.
Erdogan said the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) was a threat to all nations where they operate.
“It is evident by experience that if you do not fight against FETO now, tomorrow might be too late,” Turkish leader said in an address to the United Nations General Assembly.
A fraction within the Turkish Armed Forces linked to U.S.-based Fetullah Gulen, attempted to overthrow the government.
The July 15 coup followed the government’s crackdown on FETO’s clandestine operations that had been nested within the state for decades.
FETO-linked soldiers killed 241 people and injured 2194 others as well as bombed the parliament, presidential palace and several security units based in Ankara, during the coup attempt.
“I also would like to state that attributions such as Turkish, Turkey used by this terrorist organization, all the other labels therein and the persons associated with them have no association with Turkey whatsoever,” Erdogan said.
Erdogan commended his nation’s determined stance against the bloody coup. “I take pride in my nation as my nation defeated this heinous coup attempt by risking their lives.
“They showed a very noble stance,” he said. “If I stand here today before you it is thanks to our nation’s brave stance and noble stance.”
According to the Turkish president, the failed coup was “aimed at the global democracy as well”.
FETO is infiltrating state institutions, influencing the society and dominating economy “under the disguise of education, dialogue, tolerance, non-governmental organization and ostensibly good intentions,” he said.
The Syrian civil war and refugee crisis was another topic in Erdogan’s speech.
Approximately 2.7 million refugees are being housed in Turkey and are protected from discrimination, Erdogan said.
Turkey “will keep on providing all kinds of support” for its guests and will work to ameliorate their condition internationally, he said.
Erdogan said Turkey ranks number one in the world with a GDP-to-aid ratio, contributing 0.54 percent of its Gross Domestic Product as humanitarian aid.
He said Ankara has spent $12 billion on Syrian refugees it hosts within its border, while receiving only about $500,000 in assistance from the international community.
International actors, including the EU, are “expected to rise to the occasion” and meet their responsibilities by contributing more in assistance, financial and otherwise, he said.
“Barbed wires and high walls will never provide the security you are looking for,” he said, urging regional and global leaders to action.
“We cannot lose any more time” in achieving a political settlement to the Syrian conflict that has killed hundreds of thousands of people, he said.
“The [Bashar al-Assad] regime is condemning people to famine and suffering, in order to encourage them to surrender or to die,” Erdogan said.
“The UN and the Security Council should no longer tolerate the regime’s policy,” he added.
He said Ankara had “no expectations with regards to the territory of Syria”, and attaches great significance to an undivided Syria.
Turkey launched Operation Euphrates Shield on Aug. 24 to reestablish stability and peace to a region in despair, Erdogan said.
Supporting moderate opposition fighters against Daesh and terror groups on the border, the operation has converted the border stretch from a “belt of terrorism” into a “belt of peace” and “propped up the self-confidence of” opposition fighters, the president said.
Turkish forces and opposition fighters supported by Turkish armor and aircraft “wiped out” Daesh in the area, and resettled the local inhabitants of Jarabulus and al-Rai, he said.
With regard to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the Turkish president called on Israel to “respect the sanctity of Temple Mount” and stop its violations in the old city in Jerusalem, one of the most important sites in the world for Muslims and Jews alike. Masjid al-Aqsa, the third holiest mosque in Islam, is part of Temple Mount, or al-Haram ash-Sharif.
In his remarks, Erdogan also criticized the permanent-member system of the United Nations Security Council.
He said the “representative nature of the Security Council” must be ensured so that the UN system can become “much more effective, just and fair”.
“Do not even consider remaining silent,” he said, calling on world leaders to be strong in telling the truth and acting upon it. “Only then can the world achieve the levels of justice she yearns for,” he said.
Erdogan also touched on Islamophobia, describing it as an “alternative name to racism and discrimination”, urging governments to do more to thwart it.