Democracy & National Unity Day of Turkey Martyrs of July 15, 2016 aborted coup remembered

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Zubair Qureshi

Pakistan was among the first countries to condemn the coup attempt by global terrorist Fetullah Gulen and his network FETO on July 15, 2016, the dreadful night that unleashed forces of darkness on the state, government and the people of Turkey.
However, the people of Turkey on one call of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan came out to streets of Turkey and fought back valiantly and foiled the attempts to hijack democracy and free will of the people of the republic.
This was said by Ambassador of Turkey Ihsan Mustafa Yurdakul at a ceremony marking Democracy and National Unity Day held in memory of the martyrs of the aborted coup three years back.
Foreign Secretary (FS) Sohail Mahmood was the chief guest while a large number of ambassadors and diplomats, members of civil society and media attended the ceremony expressing solidarity with the Turkish government, people and the ambassador.
Columnist Farooq Adil and VC of Sargodha University Dr Ishtiaq Ahmed also spoke on the occasion expressing solidarity with the Turkish people.
In his brief address, FS Sohail Mahmood assured the ambassador Pakistan would continue to extend support to Turkey against any subversive force as peoples of both the countries enjoy a history of cordial relations dating back to even pre-Pakistan days. Both Pakistan and Turkey have suffered from terrorism, prejudice and hatred and we can understand the severity of the threat to regional and international peace.
Earlier, Ambassador Ihsan began his welcome address with Allama Iqbal’s verses in which the poet pays tributes to the valiant Turks. The ambassador said Pakistan was among the first to condemn the FETO-led coup and express solidarity with the Turks in that moment of crisis. Pakistan’s Supreme Court also declared on Dec 28, 2018 declared FETO a terrorist organization, said the ambassador.
Giving a brief history of the FETO and its clandestine activities, the ambassador said they (the FETO-affiliated elements) worked secretly using certain codes.
Unfortunately, they infiltrated into various official departments including police, army, education, bureaucracy and remained committed to follow directions they received from Gulen who is currently living in self-exile in Pennsylvania.
They would have continued to work secretly had the Turkish leadership not realized their hidden agenda and closed their nurseries of terrorism— the educational institutions the FETO affiliated organizations were running not only in Turkey but also internationally.
Frustrated at being exposed, the FETO operatives decided a final strike and chose July 15, 2016 as the date of their intended coup against the democratically elected government.
In that act of savagery by FETO influenced elements in Turkish army and the air force, innocent people of Turkey were targeted by helicopters, tanks and guns and the number of casualties is estimated to 251 while those injured were over 2,000.
Ambassador Ihsan said though it was a day marked by loss of precious lives yet it also reflected Turkish people’s resolve against forces of suppression and oppression. They made it clear they would not let any external force enforce its agenda on their free will.
Now the Turkish government’s priorities are: to fight against Gulen and his network; to purge educational institutions of his ideas as well as followers; and to weaken his economic strength of the FETO. The ambassador thanked the Foreign Secretary and other guests taking out time to attend the ceremony. He said FS Sohail Mahmood was serving as Ambassador in Ankara when all that happened on Turkish streets and he is an eyewitness to those fateful incidents.