Turkey hopes that its ally the United States will stop hosting the fugitive head of the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), Parliament Speaker Mustafa Şentop said Wednesday.
As Turkey is preparing to celebrate the sixth anniversary of the nation's victory against FETÖ's failed coup attempt on July 15, Şentop told Anadolu Agency (AA) that it was a terrorist group's attempt to seize the state, rather than a military coup attempt.
July 15, the day of the defeated coup, is marked in Turkey as Democracy and National Unity Day, with commemorations held across the country and at diplomatic missions abroad.
Şentop drew attention to the fact that Turkey's power does not come only from its economic and military capabilities, that its more than 170 years of elections, 144 years of parliamentary history and 75 years of multiparty political life make Turkey different and a pioneer in terms of having a democratic tradition.
"We have to know the value of our democracy and evaluate what our democracy has contributed to us properly. As you know, in today's world, where the world has turned into a sphere of chaos, turmoil and war, the atmosphere of peace and tranquility in our country disturbs the states that feed on chaos. The greatest response to them is to preserve and fortify this environment of peace and security," he said.
"Trying to seize the administration of a country, a nation, by ignoring its national sovereignty has become a global problem in the century we live in. Coups and coup plotters pose a threat to every country's democracy. It is a fact that everyone knows now that this coup attempt is a foreign-supported movement, an international operation against Turkey," Şentop added.
Regarding the extradition process of FETÖ fugitives, Şentop underlined that Turkey has so far tried the necessary means for the extradition of all members of the terrorist group linked to the coup attempt.
"The correspondence and our insistence with the U.S. authorities, especially for the extradition of the FETÖ ringleader (Fetullah) Gülen, are known to everyone. With Turkey's stance toward the two countries (Finland and Sweden) seeking NATO membership, I hope that the new processes that started with the United States will bring a facilitating dimension to the extradition of the FETÖ ringleader. Turkey announced the danger of this organization to the whole world and told everyone in the administration of the countries the damage it would one day inflict on all the countries that feed this organization. I hope the United States will stop hosting the ringleader of this organization that bloodied Turkey," Şentop said.
"As Turkey, we will continue our fight against this treacherous terrorist organization, which threatens the lives of our citizens, our democracy, our independence, and our future, and we will continue our fight until we destroy this structure all over the world," he added.
The FETÖ and its U.S.-based leader, Fetullah Gülen, orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, in which 251 people were killed and 2,734 wounded.
FETÖ was also behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary.
An unknown number of Gülenists, mostly high-ranking figures, fled Turkey when the coup attempt was thwarted. A large number of Gülenists had already left the country prior to the coup attempt after Turkish prosecutors launched investigations into other crimes of the terrorist group. Despite Turkey's extradition requests and bilateral legal agreements, many FETÖ members still freely enjoy their lives in different countries around the world. In the aftermath of the July 15, 2016 coup attempt, Turkey has sped up extradition processes for members of FETÖ abroad.
The U.S., where FETÖ's fugitive head Gülen resides, is the target of most extradition requests. Turkey has sent several extradition requests for Gülen to Washington so far, but unfortunately, has seen little progress in his extradition. Gülen, who arrived in the U.S. in 1999, currently lives in a luxurious retreat in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania, in self-imposed exile. He never leaves the well-guarded compound but often gives interviews to foreign media. Ankara formally requested Gülen's extradition on July 19, 2016, and has been pressing the U.S. ever since, sending hundreds of folders full of evidence implicating Gülen and FETÖ in the coup attempt. The issue has been raised in bilateral meetings between Turkish and American officials in phone calls, letters and other exchanges.
Meanwhile, the Communications Directorate is set to hold commemoration events across the country and abroad, under the theme For the Love of Turkey, to highlight the heroic resistance of those who sacrificed their lives during the defeated coup of the FETÖ terror group six years ago.
On the sixth anniversary of the July 15, 2016 coup attempt of the FETÖ terrorists, comprehensive commemoration events that will be organized under the coordination of the directorate will emphasize the love for the country and nation as well as the strong will and determination of Turkish people, which paved the way for the July 15 victory.
The events abroad will note the democracy prevailing on the defeated coup, the strength of the Turkish democracy, and the danger posed by FETÖ terrorists to world democracies.
In Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will attend a series of events in Ankara at the presidential complex and will leave for Istanbul where he will address the people at Saraçhane Square on Friday evening.
Other events in major cities such as Ankara, Istanbul, İzmir, and Gaziantep will also take place, according to a statement by the directorate.