ISLAMABAD - Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey Dr Mehmet Paçaci on Thursday said that the Turkish people themselves protected the country’s democracy under the leadership of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Talking to journalists about the 15 July failed coup attempt by FETO, Dr Mehmet Paçaci said that it was the night when Turkish democracy was protected by the Turkish people under the leadership of President Erdogan.

The event was organised by the Turkish embassy in Islamabad to observe the sixth anniversary of the July 15, 2016, failed coup attempt that claimed 251 lives and wounded thousands.

Ambassador Paçaci said: “On July 15, the existence of Turkey was in danger when FETO terrorist organisation’s followers attacked but Turkish citizens from all walks of life showed courage and rendered sacrifices to protect their democratic government and institutions.”

He said that perpetrator was Fetullah Gülen’s FETO, an organisation that secretly worked in Turkey for 40 years and its main goal was to take control of the state.

He said the followers of FETO tried to assassinate the President Erdogan and attacked the Prime Minister’s vehicle. They bombarded the Grand National Assembly, he added.

“The Police Special Operations Centre, the crucial counter-terrorism operational body, was bombed by fighter jets, killing 55 police officers and injuring hundreds on the spot,” he mentioned.

Hundreds of civilians protesting the coup attempt in Ankara and Istanbul were shot dead, he maintained.

For 40 years, this organisation had brainwashed the country’s children, brilliant minds in the name of educational institutions, and turned them against their own country.

At the peak of their power, they controlled thousands of schools in Turkey and more than eight hundred educational institutes worldwide. As civil servants or military personnel, FETO members’ loyalty was not to the nation or to the state they served. They did not care about upholding the country, Ambassador added.

Paçaci said various countries and international organisations have declared FETO as a terrorist organisation. Moreover, FETO was declared a terrorist organisation in the 43rd session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the OIC held on 19 October 2016.

Turkish Embassy observes 6th anniversary of July 15, 2016 failed coup attempt

A similar resolution was passed during the Asian Parliamentary Assembly on 1 December 2016 and ratified on the 12th Conference of the Parliamentary Union of the OIC on 27 January 2017.

In addition to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, the Supreme Court of Pakistan also declared FETO a terrorist organisation with the verdict rendered on 28 December 2018, he added.

About FETO’s presence in Pakistan, the ambassador said that two schools of FETO were now being supervised by Turkish NGOs and we appreciate Pakistan for closing down those schools of FETO at the Turkey government’s request.

Paçaci said that July 15th was a desperate final move of Fetullah Gülen and his followers to keep their control and capture the state.

After July 15, 2016 coup attempt, the perpetrators of the coup attempt were brought to justice based on rule of law and fundamental rights and freedoms. A number of judicial processes are still ongoing, he said.

The fight against FETO structures abroad is now among the top priorities of our country. Our main objective is to demonstrate and prove the fact that FETO also poses a threat to the security of all countries where it remains active, Ambassador informed the media.

FETO is present in around 160 countries, with thousands of schools, businesses, NGOs, and media houses, he said.

Commenting on the recent visit of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to Turkey, the Ambassador said that it was a successful visit and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is expected to visit Pakistan in September this year.

During his visit, both countries are expected to sign multiple bilateral trades and other infrastructure related agreements.