Yonet Tezel on allegations about "pro-Gulen terrorist organizations" in Ukraine, purges in Turkey
Fethullah Gulen, former Turkish preacher, was named by Ankara a mastermind behind the failed coup attempt in Turkey. While Gulen categorically denies any involvement, President Erdogan has demanded his extradition from the United States, where he currently lives.
Recently Turkish state-run news agency Anadolu published an article in Russian (link), claiming a network of pro-Gulen "terrorist organizations" existed in Ukraine", using the "soft force policy". The agency was convinced, the organizations posed as schools and cultural centers, "influencing politicians and businessmen and using them in their interests".
"The structure is a terrorist organization, I think the Ukrainian authorities have the sense of National security, to look at the facts and decide on their own, within Ukrainian law, but of course, keeping in mind our very good friendly relationship, they will look into this and take the necessary steps", Turkish Ambassador to Ukraine, Yonet Tezel said in an interview with Ukraine Today.
Thousands of soldiers, judges, and dozens of journalists have been arrested in Turkey, they allegedly were part of the Gulen movement. The detentions triggered strong concern among Western leaders, who warned Turkish President Erdogan not to use the coup as an excuse for cracking down on opposition and dissidents in the country.
Mr. Tezel was strongly convinced, though, that arresting over 8,000 individuals, including approximately 5,000 military personnel and 3,000 prosecutors, judges and police members, as well as firing or suspending whooping 60,000 people from various institutions (according to CNN), was not a crackdown on opposition in any way.
"This group hasn't been, wasn't and still isn't the opposition in Turkey. That's very unfair to the real opposition in Turkey. This group was always saying "we are not politicians", but then why can you own these newspapers, these groups of pseudo opinion-makers, attached hierarchically, it all now comes out, to someone outside? If your allegiance is to someone other, a person outside, who is not elected, if get instructions from him, that's cheating the people, that's against democracy", Mr. Tezel stated.
Yezel asserted, Turkish court would be able to get to the bottom of the failed coup attempt. At the same time, Amnesty International has slammed the treatment of prisoners in the country, saying they were possibly beaten and tortured.