Pilots that downed Russian warplane may have links to Gülen, President Erdoğan says

Published 20.07.2016 00:00
Updated 20.07.2016 23:59
Pilots that downed Russian warplane may have links to Gülen, President Erdoğan says

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in a live interview to Al Jazeera late Wednesday said that the Turkish pilots who took down the Russian warplane on November 24, 2015 may have some links to the Gülenist Terror Organization / Parallel State Structure (FETÖ/PDY).

"Pilots who downed Russian jet are in custody, and being questioned about Gulenist ties," he said, while adding that the pilots may have wanted to harm diplomatic relations between Turkey and Russia.

Speaking about the failed Gülenist coup attempt investigation, he thanked the Turkish nation and praised their strong resistance against the coup attempt perpetrated by Gülenist terrorists.

'As long as we join hands and accompany the people, tanks could do nothing,' he said.

Touching upon the prevalence of Gülenists among the nation, he said, "Last week's failed coup aimed at making a minority dominate Turkey's majority."

Further adding that Turkey has provided all evidence to the United States for the extradition of the leader of the FETÖ terrorist organization, Fetullah Gülen, he said Turkey is now awaiting a decision from US officials.

Saying that FETÖ/PDY is now an independent terrorist organization, he stated that it is controlled by another "superior mind," without stating a specific name or organization.

President Erdoğan also touched upon the discussions regarding the reinstatement of capital punishment in Turkey.

"It is parliament which will decide if the coup plotters are to be executed. I said I will approve death penalty for the coup plotters if parliament approves it," he said.

Responding to criticisms regarding his statements about freedom of speech he added, "I have never been anti-media but freedom of expression should never be a weapon."

Military troops loyal to the government, along with police units and millions of Turkish citizens, have succeeded as of Saturday morning in quelling a coup attempt, launched by a small military junta linked to the Gülenist Terror Organization (FETÖ), starting from mid-afternoon on Friday.

At least 2,839 pro-coup members of the military, including 29 colonels and over 40 generals, have been detained across Turkey, the Ministry of Interior said Saturday.

Turkey's top judicial body HSYK also ordered the detention of 2,745 Gülen-linked judges and prosecutors on Saturday while two members of the Constitutional Court were detained for involvement in the coup attempt.

As a result of the attempted coup, 161 people were killed, including 41 police officers and 47 civilians, while 1.440 others were injured. Some 104 pro-coup figures were also killed.

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