REMARKS BY AMBASSADOR AHMET AKİF OKTAY ON THE OCCASION OF THE DEMOCRACY AND NATIONAL UNITY DAY OF TURKEY - 15 July 2020, Elte University Library

Ambassador Ahmet Akif OKTAY 15.07.2020

Excellencies,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to extend a warm welcome to you all. Thank you for joining us on this solemn occasion.

Today is the fourth anniversary of one of the darkest chapters in modern Turkey’s history. Four years ago, on an otherwise quiet summer night, our country’s peace was violently broken. We were shocked to learn that some units within the military had attempted to overthrow the democratically elected government.

Throughout the night, tanks, armored personnel carriers and attack helicopters wreaked devastation in Ankara, İstanbul and other major centers. Roads and bridges were blocked, civilians were machine-gunned, and cars were smashed. Fighter jets bombed the presidential complex, the police headquarters and the Turkish parliament. An attempt was even made to assassinate our President at the hotel in which he was staying that night.

The perpetrators of this unimaginable treason did not receive their orders from the top brass in the military. In fact, they committed those crimes by defying and fighting against their own commanders and fellow soldiers in the army. As brainwashed followers, they were acting on the orders of a fugitive criminal mastermind who had fled abroad many years ago.

The attempted coup was foiled by the patriotic members of the Turkish Armed Forces, Police and other security services, who fought valiantly against the traitors. But this heinous attempt to destroy our democracy was ultimately defeated by people from all walks of life who responded to the call of President Erdoğan to defend democracy and poured into the streets and squares in their hundreds of thousands. While opposing and fighting the putchists, 251 people lost their lives, mostly civilians but also many members of the police and the military.

The failed coup was staged by members of the Gulenist terror network, FETO. Over many decades, they had slowly infiltrated into critical government agencies by carefully hiding their true intentions. But in recent years, their sinister aims were becoming more and more exposed. The atrocities they committed on July 15 were a desperate last minute attempt to reverse the situation and avoid facing justice for all the crimes they had committed in
previous years.

Dear Friends,

Inside Turkey, we have waged a vigorous struggle against the Gulenist terror network and we have greatly dismantled it. But the danger is far from over. The primary target of the FETO criminal network is still Turkey and Turkish democracy. Although official institutions have been mostly purged of FETO loyalists, we must exercise constant vigilance.

This dangerous organization is now focusing its efforts on regrouping its followers outside Turkey. FETO still runs businesses, so-called schools and other types of income-generating establishments in many countries. The money coming from these entities supports its illegal, clandestine and subversive activities.

Therefore, as a victim of FETO terrorism, we feel duty bound to warn our friends against this invisible but very real threat. Complacency and failure to take measures against FETO-affiliated structures can be a costly mistake. As a matter of fact, many countries have seen this threat and either ended or greatly reduced FETO presence in their territory. We can only hope that the rest will follow suit, sooner rather than later.

At this point, please allow me to briefly address my compatriots in Turkish.

Değerli Vatandaşlarım,

15 Temmuz 2016 gecesi yaşadığımız hain darbe girişiminin dördüncü yıldönümünde, şehitlerimizi saygı ile bir kez daha yâd ediyoruz. Gazilerimize kalbi şükran ve minnetlerimizi yineliyoruz. Onlar sergiledikleri fedakârlıkla demokrasimizi kurtarırken, bütün dünyaya ders verircesine bir azim, cesaret ve kahramanlık destanı da yazmışlardır. Milletimizin hürriyeti, bekası ve egemenliği uğruna canlarını veren tüm demokrasi şehitlerimize bir kez daha Allah’tan rahmet diliyorum. Toprakları bol, mekânları cennet olsun. Onları asla unutmayacak ve unutturmayacağız. Bu anma etkinliğine katılımınız için sizlere de teşekkür ediyorum.

Esteemed Guests,

On this occasion, we once again pay our deepest respects to our fallen heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice on July 15, 2016 in defense of freedom and democracy. They will forever remain in our hearts and minds. May they rest in peace.

Before concluding, I wish to express our heartfelt gratitude to Elte University, which is home to a strong Turkish Studies Department, for making this historic and beautiful library available to us. In particular, I would like to thankMs. Katalin Kálóczi, General Director of the Library, and Ms. Ágnes Bodó, Library Communications Officer, for their kind support at every step of our preparations for this event.

Finally, I thank you once again for your participation in this event and sharing this moment with us.

Ahmet Akif Oktay Ambassador
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