President Erdoğan says US must choose: ‘FETÖ or Turkey’
ANKARA - Anadolu Agency
AA photoPresident Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Aug. 10 gave the U.S. an ultimatum following Ankara’s repeated requests for the extradition of U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, accused of orchestrating the July 15 failed coup attempt.
“Sooner or later the U.S. will make a choice. Either Turkey or FETÖ [the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization],” Erdoğan said.
“Either the coup-plotting, terrorist FETÖ or the democratic country of Turkey. It [the U.S.] has to make this choice,” he continued.
The president’s remarks came as he addressed a mass crowd in front of the Presidential Palace in the capital – one location attacked on the night of the coup attempt.
The gathering in Ankara was the last night of daily pro-democracy rallies which have been held since July 15, Erdoğan announced.
The daily gatherings, which have attracted hundreds of thousands wishing to show their opposition to the foiled July 15 coup, culminated on Aug. 7 in a rally in Istanbul that 5 million people were thought to have attended, according to local officials.
Erdoğan warned citizens, however, to stay constantly vigilant as “betrayal can come from anywhere and anyone.”
“We want to finalize it [democracy rallies] here [Ankara]. But, I see that our people do not want to leave the squares,” he said.
“The democracy watch cannot be kept only at certain hours, in certain places,” he added, calling on Turks to protect “democracy, freedom, the state and the future” 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
The Turkish president once more suggested he saw no difference between the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and FETÖ.
“Those who follow the Pennsylvania-based charlatan who sold his soul to the devil, or Daesh [ISIL], which shed Muslim blood, or the PKK that also has shed blood for 30 years to divide the country and the nation, will all lose in the end,” he said.
About the possible reinstatement of the death penalty in Turkey for those involved in the defeated coup, Erdoğan reiterated his stance that the decision would be left up to Turkish lawmakers in parliament.
He said he would approve reinstating the death penalty if the parliament approved it.
“We will certainly call the murderers to account [for their crimes]. We will impose the heaviest penalty,” said Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım, who took the stage late on Aug. 10 to address the crowd before Erdoğan.
“Coup plotters believed that they would defeat the nation, but they were mistaken,” he said.