The Turkish Independent Industrialists and Businessmen's Association (MÜSİAD) harshly criticized a legal case triggered by the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) in South Africa targeting MÜSİAD's South Africa chairman and Turkish businesspeople.
In a written statement, MÜSİAD called the case "a very extensive and extremely organized smear campaign" as it stressed that the association continues to monitor the situation that targets MÜSİAD and the Republic of Turkey. "In recent days in South Africa, a very intense and highly organized smear campaign aimed at the personal rights and commercial value of MÜSİAD and our MÜSİAD South Africa Chairman Abubekir Salim through social media accounts and print media is being carried out."
The association underlined that it will not let FETÖ and affiliated people defame MÜSİAD and Turkish businesspeople. Also, MÜSİAD stressed that it is aware that South African authorities will not allow FETÖ to threaten MÜSİAD's chairman in the country as well as Turkish and South African businesspeople.
The MÜSİAD statement said the association has offices in 73 countries around the world, including South Africa, with the aim of enhancing commercial ties between countries. It read that MÜSİAD has been working to offer commercial opportunities to Turkish and South African businesspeople in the country.
FETÖ orchestrated the failed July 15, 2016 coup attempt in Turkey; during which 250 people were killed 250 and more than 2,000 were injured.
The association also drew attention to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's upcoming visit to South Africa and his warm ties with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa. "The warm and positive environment with the election of His Excellency Cyril Ramaphosa as the president of the Republic of South Africa helped South African-Turkish ties accelerate," it said. The statement read that the association places great importance on Erdoğan's visit to the country scheduled for July 26-28.
Previously, a legal lawsuit was filed in Pretoria — not in Johannesburg which is the subject of the case — with information and documents that were illegally gathered, according to sources who wished to remain anonymous. As a result, Salim's assets were frozen and his authority in his firms was dispossessed. Only a short time after the decision was made, the issue was leaked to the press and a smear campaign ensued, of which Gülenists in the country have been a big part of.