The ceremony was graced by members of the Sri Lankan Parliament, the armed forces and the diplomatic community, as well as the senior officials of leading media organisations.
During the ceremonial speech, Ambassador Tunca Özçuhadar highlighted some of the crucial aspects of the FETO terrorist organisation, the 15 July 2016 coup attempt and its implications as well as to other countries where FETO remains active. He emphasised that the 15 July 2016 coup attempt constitutes the deadliest terrorist attack that Turkey has ever experienced. He said, “This coup attempt was planned by Fetullah Gülen, the ringleader of FETO. His disciples first infiltrated the Turkish army and then carried out this coup attempt by disobeying the chain of command of the armed forces.”
Indicating the savagery of the attacks on the night of 15 July 2016, Ambassador Özçuhadar stated that the Turkish Parliament, the presidential complex, the building of the National Intelligence Organisation, buildings of the Turkish National Police and the Headquarters of the Police Special Operations Department located in Ankara were bombed by the rogue pilots, while tanks were driven to the streets, claiming 251 lives of innocent civilians and wounding more than two thousand.
With regard to the dark network of FETO, Ambassador Özçuhadar explained that when FETO started the campaign by establishing schools in Turkey and later, around the world, they disguised themselves as a benign educational movement. He said, “This educational movement in fact brainwashed young minds at schools and indoctrinated a large group of radical followers, who executed the instructions of their leadership without questioning and violated all legal and moral norms”.
During his speech, he also underlined the strategy executed against FETO within Turkey by stating that “despite facing extraordinary security challenges, Turkey has been able to successfully conduct her fight at home in accordance with the principles of the rule of law, fundamental rights, and freedoms”.
Furthermore, Ambassador Özçuhadar affirmed that FETO has lost its backbone in Turkey. However, it is now trying to survive in other countries by establishing similar structures of political and economic zones of influence. Therefore, the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs has given its utmost priority to fight against FETO’s structures in foreign countries. Ambassador Özçuhadar expressed that the objective of Turkey’s efforts in this regard is to demonstrate and prove the fact that FETO also poses a threat to the security of other countries where it remains active.
In his speech, Ambassador Özçuhadar said that by initiating administrative and judicial proceedings, Turkey has been able to limit the manoeuvring space of the FETO terrorist organisation in other countries. He highlighted that the international community is now aware of FETO’s real image as a dark and insidious organisation, contrary to what FETO portrays itself – as an educational and charity movement – hence, various countries and international organisations have so far declared FETO as a terrorist organisation.
Ambassador Özçuhadar concluded his remarks by stating “Turkey’s efforts for fully eliminating the structures of FETO abroad constitutes a long-term fight, and the Turkish Government will resolutely maintain its efforts in that regard.”