Former Sri Lankan State Minister of Foreign Affairs Wasantha Senanayake said that Turkey had warned the country against the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) but its government "failed to follow up on the matter," according to the Sri Lankan media.
FETÖ is accused of carrying out the July 15, 2016, coup attempt that killed 251 people in Turkey. It faced an increased crackdown after the coup attempt and Turkey has sought extradition of members of the terrorist group from around the world.
The terrorist group, which long disguised itself as a charity with religious undertones, commands an international network of schools and companies in many countries. Some countries complied with Turkey's request to shut down schools linked to FETÖ and hand over group's members wanted on terror charges.
Senanayake told the Sri Lanka Mirror that the Turkish Embassy in the country gave information to the Sri Lankan government about 50 FETÖ members and issued a warning about the group in 2017 and 2018. He said the information was conveyed to the Defense Ministry on two separate occasions and the ministry, in turn, wrote to his ministry that they would investigate the matter. He added that the government, however, failed to follow up on the matter, citing "intervention of two politicians" that stalled investigations into the FETÖ presence in Sri Lanka.
Turkey is still striving to purge the group's secret members in the military. In an operation yesterday, following a probe by prosecutors in the eastern city of Van, police detained nine active-duty soldiers linked to the terrorist group. In another operation in the capital Ankara, prosecutors issued arrest warrants for 15 military officers, including active-duty soldiers and those dismissed from their duty earlier for links to the group.
The soldiers were the staff of the Gendarme General Command and were identified through testimonies of former FETÖ members arrested in earlier operations against the terrorist group. Prosecutors also issued warrants for 16 teachers, who worked at now-defunct schools run by the terrorist group.