By Ambassador Yaprak Alp*
ADDIS ABABA – In Turkey today, we all remember what happened five years ago on this date. On the night of 15 July 2016, a clandestine faction within Turkish forces, which actually belongs to the Fethullah Gulen Terrorist Organization (FETO), attempted to stage a coup in Turkey.
This was not a typical military putsch. It is very difficult to describe the treachery and brutality displayed by the putschists that night. It was an obscene act of terror. They used lethal military weapons against innocent civilians who had spilled out on the streets to defend their democratic institutions.
They killed military personnel who had no suspicion that they were being murdered by their own supposed comrades-in-arms. They used fighter jets and bombed the Presidential compound, the Parliament, the National Intelligence Headquarters and the Special Forces Headquarters. They were so cold-blooded as to try to assassinate the President and the Prime Minister.
Unfortunately, they were able to take the lives of 251 Turkish citizens and wound 2000 people.
Thanks to the leadership of President Erdogan and the bravery of the people, this terrorist coup attempt targeting Turkish democracy failed. The people flocked to the streets, stood in front of tanks, and the nation united as a whole against the FETO plot to overtake the state.
Many captured witnesses gave testimony to the fact that FETO was behind this treacherous coup attempt. Prosecutors have gathered crucial evidence that the attacks were orchestrated by the FETO leader, Fethullah Gulen, who resided in the US. He is said to have financed and radicalized many of his followers to plot against the democratic government elected by the people.
The Turkish Government rightfully took the necessary and proportionate measures to defeat this threat. As acknowledged by international human rights mechanisms, serious human rights violations were committed by the plotters. The Venice Commission of the Council of Europe confirmed that the Turkish state has the right and duty to take necessary measures to confront these threats against the people.
The foiling of the coup attempt by Turkish people from all walks of life has been a milestone in Turkey’s democratic history. The nation as a whole showed that democracy is non-negotiable.
Today, we honor the memory of those who died defending democracy that night and we remain steadfast in our fight against FETO. The solidarity of the international community is essential for each and every country to thwart the scourge of terrorism.
The author, Yaprak Alp*, is Ambassador of Turkey to Ethiopia and the African Union
Editor’s note: The article reflects the authors’ opinion only, and not necessarily the views of editorial opinion of Ethiopian Monitor Online.