Erdoğan urges South Africa to take measures against FETÖ activities
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said South Africa should take measures to halt the activities of members of what it calls the Fethullahist Terror Organization (FETÖ), claiming the country had become one of the group’s main bases in the world.
“It’s very unfortunate that South Africa is one of the countries where FETÖ is very active. I had already given documents [to South Africa], but I will give some new ones as well. I will tell them that FETÖ could pose threats to South Africa too,” Erdoğan said on July 26 during a speech at the inauguration of the new service building of the Turkish embassy in Pretoria.
The president said he will hold a bilateral meeting with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on the sidelines of the BRICS Summit and will express Turkey’s concerns about the activities of FETÖ in the country.
“In our meeting with Mr. President of South Africa, we will discuss these issues in detail. I will bring our expectations over the orchestrators of the July 15, 2016 coup attempt and the killers of 251 of our citizens to his attention,” Erdoğan stated.
“We will not allow FETÖ to turn [South Africa] into a base, to dirty this country and exploit the generosity of our South African friends,” he said.
Turkey has long been exerting efforts to stop the activities of Gülenists worldwide following July 2016 failed coup attempt. The group still operates schools and a number of non-governmental organizations in South Africa. Turkey wants the suspension of all these institutions and cooperation with relevant South African bodies to this end.
The fight against FETÖ is not necessary only for Turkey, but all countries, Erdoğan said, claiming members of the group have already started abusing the South African judicial system.
“Our fight will continue until the last FETÖ member is brought to account,” Erdoğan said.
Turkey to raise terror issue at summit
An issue Erdoğan is expected to raise during the summit and his bilateral meetings is the need for a joint fight against terror.
The president said besides economic and development related issues, he will also talk about the “devastating impact of terrorism to the world.”
“We will discuss what kind of formulas we can bring about to bolster global peace and increase regional cooperation. We will also talk about terror that is threatening the entire world. This is also a problem of South Africa,” Erdoğan said.
All countries should fight against terror without separating one from another, Erdoğan said.
“Whatever its name is, terror is terror. Daesh (Arabic acronym for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant - ISIL) is not different from FETÖ. The PKK [outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party] is no different from Boko Haram or al-Shabab,” he said.
Turkey’s first BRICS participation
Turkey has been invited to this year’s BRICS Summit by South Africa, the rotating term president, under its capacity as the term president of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC). This makes it Turkey’s first attendance to the annual BRICS summit, which was founded in 2009.
Erdoğan will attend a special session on global development and will hold bilateral meetings. He is expected to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the summit.