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TURKISH AMBASSADOR MARKING ANNIVERSARY OF COUP: JULY 15 TEST OF STRENGTH

Turkish Ambassador, Cagatay Erciyes, held a press conference at the Younis Emre Turkish Cultural Center, in Beirut marking the first anniversary since the attempted coup in Turkey, in presence of a number of media figures.

"The attempted coup d'etat of July 15 was the worst terrorist act in the history of the Turkish Republic," the Turkish Ambassador said in his delivered speech.

The following is the Turkish Ambassador's full speech:

" I am organizing this press conference on the occasion of the first anniversary of the defeated coup attempt that took place in Turkey on the night of 15 July 2016.

Tomorrow, we will celebrate this anniversary as the ''Democracy and National Unity Day'' in Turkey.

We will also commemorate our 250 democracy martyrs tomorrow, who lost their lives in thwarting this coup attempt.

So today I will be speaking about this coup attempt and the ensuing developments in Turkey. Then if you have any questions, I will be happy to answer them.

First please bear with me for a moment in watching together a video to remember what happened in Turkey a year ago.

As seen on the video, July 15 coup attempt was the worst act of terror and treachery in the history of the Turkish Republic.

Turkish people has never before been through such brutality in our history.

On that night, we were confronted with murderers heading their tanks onto innocent civilians; killing unsuspecting military personnel who refused to join them; flying fighter jets to bomb their own national Parliament, the Presidential compound, the Headquarters of National Intelligence and Special Forces, and strategically vital infrastructures. They attempted to assassinate our President.

These murderers killed 250 of our citizens and left almost 2,200 people injured.

Yet, the outside world largely missed out the severity of the July 15 coup attempt and failed to comprehend its traumatic impact on the Turkish people.

Many international media outlets, intentionally or not, missed out the very fact that people from all political backgrounds in Turkey on that night, united as one, fought against this treacherous coup attempt in the name of defending their rights, democracy and country.

All the political parties, both in government and in opposition, the uninfected and overwhelming majority of the Armed Forces, the Police Force and the media stood up against the putschists.

Turkish people from all walks of life and political views resisted and defeated the coup attempt displaying a historic example of solidarity and unity.

The picture of the so-called "tank man," in Beijing's Tiananmen Square in 1989 was said to be one of the most iconic images of the 20th century.

Yet there were not one but many iconic pictures showing hundreds of unarmed ordinary people who stood in front of tanks on the night of the coup attempt in Turkey.

That night was a trial of strength and perseverance for the Turkish democracy and the State. As our Prime Minister Y?ld?r?m said "The Turkish nation proved to the world that democracy is not a cheap victory but is precious enough to die for its sake.'

Let there be no doubt. Fethullah Gulen, the so-called "Imam of the Universe" who is actually residing in Pennsylvania, and his undercover operatives infiltrated within the Turkish military, police and the judiciary planned and staged this heinous coup attempt.

We call them as "Fetullah Terrorist Organization" or in short FETO.

Their goal was to take control of the Turkish State illegally and rule the country based on their perverted radical religious beliefs.

For outsiders, it is difficult to understand how a seemingly benign civic education movement could become a state within the state, run a shadow government and manipulate laws and regulations to their benefit.

In fact, the uniqueness of FETO as a terrorist organization comes from their use of legal means and institutions as a cover to achieve their illegal objectives.

Unlike other ordinary terrorist groups, they did not seek to acquire guns or power illegally because as civil servants, military and police officers, these were delivered and given to them legally.

Since its establishment, the main agenda of FETO has been to infiltrate critical state institutions and wait until they are in full control.

FETO operated their schools and dorms as brainwashing and recruitment centers.

Indoctrinated FETO members who are loyal to their mastermind were enabled to infiltrate the state apparatus.

Those followers who stand ready to resort to all sorts of illegal and immoral acts without any questioning were promoted to key positions.

These people hatched plots such as cheating in public service recruitment tests, illegal wiretappings, blackmailing and sham trials.

The organization had been financed through so-called charities and foundations.

Billion dollars' worth of money transactions have been laundered via large companies and banks.

It is not normal for any "education movement" in the world to operate in cell structures, recognize members with code names, develop encrypted software to communicate among themselves and teach its members techniques of counter-intelligence and tactics to mask their affiliation.

FETO has resorted to every possible method to eliminate those who are not with them and tried to control not only the political power, but also the state apparatus of the Republic of Turkey in line with their own heretical ambitions.

We therefore consider FETO as a new generation hybrid terrorist organization that is based on hypocrisy, concealment and secrecy.

Quickly after the failed coup, comprehensive administrative, criminal and legal investigations have been initiated.

There are now more than 70 ongoing court trials in 23 different cities of Turkey with regard to the perpetrators.

Prosecutors have gathered solid evidences pointing to the unmistakable imprint of FETO behind the coup attempt.

The Turkish authorities have also managed to decode encrypted communication tools such as "Bylock", developed to be used only among FETO members.

Actually, that was the biggest breakthrough enabling the police to better identify FETO members who have infiltrated the state institutions and to illuminate their illegal activities.

As one may expect, confronting such a dark, sinister and clandestine structure is not easy.

Despite the severity of the challenges faced, we resolutely act in line with the principle of the rule of law and our international obligations.

We continue to maintain uninterrupted cooperation in particular with the Council of Europe, the UN and the OSCE.

The Turkish Government rightfully and legally took necessary and proportionate measures in a transparent manner to suppress and eventually defeat this imminent threat.

"State of Emergency", which was declared immediately after the foiled terrorist coup attempt and extended until mid-July 2017 is indeed in full conformity with our national legislation and international obligations.

Utmost attention will continue to be paid for keeping the right balance between freedoms and security requirements.

Effective domestic remedies are in place for reviewing measures. Review Boards have been established to assess the petitions of those who believe that they have been wrongfully suspected.

Furthermore, an Inquiry Commission has also been established recently to address the measures taken through Emergency Decrees.

The European Court of Human Rights has also recognized this Inquiry Commission as a domestic legal remedy.

To date, over 300 institutions that were shut down have been reopened. More than 30 thousand public employees have been reinstated through administrative boards of review.

Turkey and Turkish people are determined to fight FETO.

Yet we are also equally determined to strengthen our democratic credentials.

Because we know that this is the only way to counter terrorism in all forms and manifestations.

We are aspiring to do so, while we also fight the most dangerous terrorist organizations simultaneously, which are the PKK and DAESH.

So far, the backbone of FETO in Turkey has been destroyed thanks to the measures we have taken.

Yet the threat is not only limited to Turkey. FETO has similar structures in many countries. We therefore continue to alert our friends against FETO.

What happened in Turkey one year ago is a reminder of what this organization may be capable of doing in every country where they have been operating.

One can argue that any coup attempt would have destabilized any country, ruins its economy and divides the society.

Yet today Turkey is more resilient, stronger and united than ever before

Only six weeks after the July 15 coup attempt, Turkey launched a major offensive against DAESH terrorists in Syria, continued its mega infrastructure and development projects, economic reforms and modified its constitution first time ever by a popular vote.

Our fight against all sorts of terrorism has not damaged the economy nor hampered the daily course of life.

It is against this backdrop that the Turkish people will be celebrating tomorrow the first "Democracy and National Unity Day" as a demonstration of their dedication and commitment to democracy and will always keep the memory of their July 15 martyrs alive.

Last but not least, I should like to take this opportunity to reiterate once again our appreciation and gratitude to the Lebanese Government, many Lebanese political leaders and our Lebanese friends for expressing their support to and solidarity with Turkey in the immediate aftermath of the 15 July Coup attempt."

Source: National News Agency