The Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) led the foiled July 15 coup to sabotage the achievements of Turkey over the past decade, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş told the American Muslim community Friday at a convention in Chicago.
In his speech at the evening session of the 53rd annual convention of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, Kurtulmuş said "The FETÖ terror group is no different from the PKK or DAESH terror groups," noting that Turkey was fighting all three simultaneously.
Attending one of the biggest Muslim gatherings in the U.S. alongside Justice and Development Party (AK Party) deputies Ravza Kavakçı Kan and Sena Nur Demirci, the minister elaborated on what Turkish citizens experienced as a result of the failed July 15 coup led by a faction in the Turkish military linked to FETÖ leader, U.S.-based Fethullah Gülen.
The minister said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's resilient courage before the coup plotters encouraged the Turkish people to stand against tanks and challenge the coup attempt.
He said although FETÖ was pretending to be a civil society organization focused on education and civic activities, it was secretively conducting terrorist activities.
"FETÖ is not only a threat for Turkey," Kurtulmuş told the audience. "It is also a threat to many countries where it is strong."
Kurtulmuş said that the government was clearing the state of FETÖ-linked terrorists, noting that all post-coup investigations were conducted within the scope of constitutional authority, underlining that Turkey was a country governed by the rule of law.
"The plotters wanted to divide the society but after July 15 we came together as a society," he added. "The plotters wanted to overthrow the government and President Erdoğan but both our government and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Turkish democracy is more powerful than ever."
He called on the U.S. government not to prolong the process regarding the extradition of Gülen to Turkey, noting that Ankara's NATO ally and strategic partner had an obligation to hand over the alleged coup leader.
"We have submitted all documents showing the link between coup plotters and Gülen to the American authorities," he said. "The leader of the FETÖ terror group should be detained until the federal court reaches a final decision about his extradition."
The minister met several American Muslim leaders at the Zakat Foundation in Chicago, one of the main Muslim charity organization in the U.S.
He told the leaders that the aim of the July coup plotters was not only to overthrow the democratically elected government but also to drag the country into a civil war and make it vulnerable to foreign intervention.
Kurtulmuş also visited the Anadolu Agency stand at the convention center where nearly 600 organizations had stands to introduce their works and products.