Speech By Ambassador Osman Koray Ertaş On The Occasion Of July 15 Democracy And National Unity Day Reception
Ladies and gentlemen,
I am pleased to welcome you all to our Democracy and National Unity Day reception and the launch of the Anadolu Agency photo exhibition.
Today, we have been gathered to commemorate the second anniversary of the failed coup attempt in Turkey, a violent attack that was thwarted by the courage and sacrifice of the Turkish people.
This attempt was the worst act of terror in the history of the Turkish Republic, unprecedented in its scale, nature and results. On that night, the putschists used lethal military power against innocent civilians, murdering 251 people. They used fighter jets and attack helicopters to bomb the Turkish Parliament and the Presidential Compound.
July 15 was a trial of strength and perseverance for the Turkish State and its democracy. It makes us proud to have passed this test. All political parties, both in the government and the opposition, the patriotic elements of the Turkish security forces, our vibrant civil society and the media took a firm stance against this heinous attempt. It was the people of Turkey, from all walks of life, of diverse political colors who displayed a historic example of solidarity as they stood selflessly in front of the tanks and defended their democratic rights.
In this context, I want to thank our Romanian friends for the support they extended in those difficult times. We will always remember their show of solidarity with the Turkish people in the aftermath of the coup attempt. We will particularly remember the visit to Turkey as a solidarity gesture by the then-Foreign Minister of Romania, Lazar Comanescu, together with his Polish counterpart just after the attempt in August 2016.
July 15 was a stark revelation of the existential threat that targeted the very foundations of the Turkish state. It was the culmination of the decades-long undertaking of Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) to infiltrate all critical state structures with the ultimate aim to overtake the state and re-design the current regime according to their destructive, vicious ambitions. The secretive nature of this organization allowed them to silently advance their cause in Turkey and abroad.
July 15 brought to light the real face of the so-called Gulenists. FETÖ is not a benign civic movement as they try hard to portray. What we face is a global enterprise, operating in various countries through dubious school networks, including in Romania. Make no mistake. Education and culture are only a guise for this notorious so called religiously motivated cult of personality to recruit more members and increase its influence in various countries.
What happened in Turkey two years ago is a warning for what this organization may be capable of doing elsewhere. We paid a heavy price for conceding to their benign discourse. We do not want other countries to
suffer a similar fate in the future. This is why we advise our friends and partners around the world, notably Romanian friends, to be vigilant against this malicious organization.
Now, two years after that fateful night, our determination to defend democracy and to fight FETÖ and other subversive organisations remains intact. As a matter of fact, the Turkish Government decided to lift the emergency rule, which will expire two days later. This shows our commitment to democratic rule.
We will continue to walk along this path bound by our commitment to uphold rule of law and justice. This is indeed the only way to effectively counter terrorism. We aspire to do so as we also fight the most dangerous terrorist organisations simultaneously, namely the PKK and DEASH. In these critical times, we count on receiving the much-needed support and encouragement of our allies, partners , and friends.
Dear friends, thank you once again as you show solidarity with us by being in this event, which marks an important anniversary for the Turkish nation.
Now allow me to address to our community members in Turkish.