At least six former Ministry of Environment and Urban Planning employees were arrested in capital Ankara on Tuesday for their alleged links to the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group behind last year’s defeated coup.
FETÖ and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gülen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, which left 250 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured, according to the Turkish government.
The arrests came after warrants had been issued for eight FETÖ-linked suspects, according to a statement issued by the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.
The FETÖ-suspects were accused of using ByLock, an encrypted mobile phone messaging application used by coup plotters.
Ankara accuses FETÖ of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.
Turkey questions seriousness of US in anti-terror fight
Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım on Monday questioned the seriousness of the U.S. in the fight against terrorism and urged it again to drop its support for terror groups.Speaking at a news conference alongside his Macedonian counterpart Zoran Zaev in capital Ankara, Yildirim said: “The U.S., which we think as our NATO ally and years-long strategic partner, should pull itself together, and come to a proper decision.“The U.S. should see that fight against a terror group via another one does not comply with a state’s seriousness. It would be nice if the U.S. could see that, if it doesn’t then we will continue to do what is necessary.”“We don’t need anybody’s permission to do that. We will exercise all the rights given to us by international law,” added Yıldırım, emphasizing that Turkey would take steps resolutely in order to end terror threats in both Afrin and other regions.The U.S. has long supported the PYD/PKK terror group as a “reliable ally” in its fight against Daesh, despite strong objections from Ankara, which has documented that the organization is the Syrian branch of the terrorist PKK.The PKK is listed as a terrorist group by the U.S., EU, and Turkey.Turkey ensures safety of the EU, BalkansIn regards to Turkey’s efforts in the region amid Olive Branch Operation, “Turkey doesn’t just ensure its own citizens’ safety of life and property, it also provides security for the entire EU and the Balkans," said Yıldırım. "Unfortunately, we have seen that the EU doesn’t acknowledge and appreciate it,” said Yıldırım stating that Europe would pay an enormous price due to the refugee crisis and terror wave if it weren’t for Turkey.On Jan. 20, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch to remove PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorists from Afrin.According to the Turkish General Staff, the operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkey’s borders and the region as well as protect Syrians from terrorist oppression and cruelty.The operation is being carried out under the framework of Turkey’s rights based on international law, UN Security Council resolutions, its self-defense rights under the UN charter, and respect for Syria's territorial integrity, it said.The military also said that "utmost care" is being used to avoid harming civilians.Afrin has been a major hideout for the PYD/PKK since July 2012, when the Assad regime in Syria left the city to the terror group without a fight.Turkey-Macedonia relationsOn the bilateral relations between the two countries, Yıldırım said Turkey and Macedonia agreed to boost their relations in all areas.Alongside Fethullah Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) and Turkey’s fight against terrorism, Yildirim also informed his Macedonian counterpart about the regional issues, including Syria and Iraq, and particularly Operation Olive Branch in Afrin during their meeting ahead of the news conference.Expressing Macedonia’s full support for Turkey’s fight against the FETÖ, Zaev said his country would take all necessary precautions against the terrorist group.He said both countries want to improve relations in various areas, including economy, energy, agriculture, industry, and defense. He also emphasized the development of cultural relations.Speaking about the crisis between Greece and Macedonia, Zaev praised Turkey’s support for the Republic of Macedonia."Turkish Republic defends and supports a solution which will be appropriate for both sides. A solution applicable for the NATO and the EU will also suit us,” Zaev noted.Greece does not accept Macedonia’s name as it has a region by the same name in the north of the country. Greece also argues that the former Yugoslav Republic has claims on its territory and its historical heritage.Since 2017, negotiations have stepped up, as the new government in Skopje wants a deal over its name with Athens, which can veto its NATO and EU membership.
US government-funded TV spreads FETÖ propaganda
A U.S. government-funded TV channel has given leading fugitive members of Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) a chance to vilify Turkey.Virginia-based al-Hurra News, an Arabic-language satellite TV channel, which broadcasts to 25 countries in the Middle East and North Africa featured key FETÖ fugitives Emre Uslu and Adem Yavuz Arslan on screen.The TV channel, which has long been criticized for being a propaganda tool of the U.S. government in the Middle East, also shared a video of the interview on its Twitter account.FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, which left 250 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.FETO and its leader, Gulen are also suspected of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the Turkish state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary.The terror group has a considerable presence outside Turkey, including private educational institutions that investigators have found serve as a revenue stream for the terror group.Al-Hurra was established as an alternative to Middle-Eastern broadcasts, often critical of the U.S., by former U.S. President George W. Bush in 2004. It also attempted to tone down Arab anger after the U.S. invasion of Iraq.The channel, which operates under the control of Broadcasting Board of Governors (global media agency of the U.S. government), eventually came under fire by American politicians for not reaching the targeted number of viewers despite its large budget.Receiving over $100 million annually from American taxpayers, al-Hurra has became "the most expensive foreign broadcasting effort undertaken by the U.S. government", according to the ProPublica, a nonprofit organization that produces investigative journalism in the U.S.According to Congressional records, al-Hurra received $108 million while its state television channel Voice of America received $221 million in fiscal year 2017.The channel dismissed its own top executive and employees who broadcast a live speech by Hassan Nasrallah, the head of Hezbollah, and a Holocaust deniers' conference in Iran.
Turkish FM spokesman slams US remarks on FETÖ convict
Turkey’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy on Friday responded to the U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert's statement about a Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) convict.Nauert on Thursday said Serkan Golge, a Turkish-U.S. citizen, was convicted to seven years and nine months in jail for being member of a terrorist organization “without credible evidence” and said the U.S. was “deeply concerned” by the conviction. “Serkan Golge, a Turkish citizen, was tried by an independent Turkish court and sentenced after a fair trial,” Aksoy said in a written statement. “It is not possible to take the biased words of the U.S. State Department spokeswoman, who does not know the content and evidence of the case file, seriously.“The Turkish judiciary does not decide according to the desire of someone or of external instructions, but decides according to Turkey’s Constitution, laws, and evidence. We expect our U.S. interlocutors to respect the decisions of independent Turkish courts,” Aksoy added. FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, which left 250 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured, according to the Turkish government.