Ankara expects North Macedonia to take necessary steps on FETÖ schools

Published 04.04.2019 00:59

National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said Wednesday that Turkey has shared information regarding the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) and its members with the authorities in North Macedonia.

Akar added that Ankara believes that the country will take necessary actions against the group in the near future. "I believe with that there will be significant developments and the North Macedonian side will take necessary steps," Akar told a joints press meeting with Macedonian Defense Minister Radmila Sekerinska.

He confirmed that the Turkish authorities have shared information on some of the FETÖ ringleaders with the related institutions in North Macedonia.

FETÖ and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gülen orchestrated the defeated coup on July 15, 2016, in Turkey, killing 251 people and injuring nearly 2,200 others.

Turkey established the Maarif Foundation in 2016 after a coup attempt to take over the administration of overseas schools linked to FETÖ. It also establishes schools and education centers abroad. FETÖ has a considerable presence abroad, including private schools which serve as a revenue stream for the terrorist group. At the press meeting, Akar also underscored that Turkey attaches great significance to peace and stability in the Balkan region and particularly in North Macedonia. He said that Turkey has exerted efforts to support North Macedonia in all fields since 1992. The minister also underlined the military ties between the two countries have substantially enhanced. "Up until today, 1,200 soliders from North Macedonia trained in Turkey. Many Macedonian soldiers have been participating in different military exercises," Akar added.

Akar said Turkey would support all efforts necessary for North Macedonia's integration into NATO and the EU processes. In relation to the terror threats that Turkey faces from various terrorist groups, Akar said the country's fight against Daesh, the PKK, its Syrian affiliate, the People's Protection Units (YPG), and FETÖ will continue resolutely. The minister reiterated that it is known that some members of FETÖ reside in North Macedonia. He said that Ankara believes that the country will take actions, and added that "we trust to the authorities of North Macedonia."

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