Turkish FM warns US against FETO terrorism

LOS ANGELES: Turkish foreign minister on Saturday criticized the US stance towards the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), urging the country to see the true colour of the terror group.

Speaking during a meeting with Turkish expats in Los Angeles, Mevlut Cavusoglu said the whole world had understood how the FETO was a treacherous terrorist organization.

“I hope the US understands it someday,” said Cavusoglu, adding that Turkey, unfortunately, could not get the desired support from the US in its fight against the FETO which Turkey blamed for July 15 failed coup attempt in 2016.

Neither an extradition have been made nor an investigation have been launched, the minister said.

Turkey has repeatedly called for the group’s US-based leader Fetullah Gulen’s extradition in the aftermath of the 2016 defeated coup which left 250 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.

Ankara also accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary, as well as having a large network of influence and intimidation abroad.

Ankara-Washington relations

Speaking on Ankara-Washington relations, Turkish FM described the US as one of Turkey’s most important allies.

“There might be some disagreements on some issues, but there has been a tension [recently] in our relations because of the issues of FETO and the US arming of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party – originally as Partiya Yekitiya Demokrat – PYD and‎ the Kurdistan Workers’ Party – or Partiya Karkeren Kurdistane – (PKK).

“We are trying to overcome them through dialogue,” the minister said.

Turkey-US relations strained over the latter’s support for the PKK/PYD terror group’s presence and arming of the group in the region.

The PKK/PYD is the Syrian branch of the PKK terrorist network, which has waged war against Turkey for more than 30 years. Turkey considers the PKK, PYD, and YPG as one and the same.

The PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by the US and EU as well as Turkey – resumed its armed campaign in July 2015. Since then, it has killed more than 1,200 Turkish security personnel and civilians, including women and children.

Syrian crisis

Touching on the latest developments in ongoing Syrian civil war, Cavusoglu said the situation in Syria has gotten much better in 2017, particularly with the Astana peace process and the joint steps.

Noting that the situation is still “not totally good”, the minister said: “It is impossible [to be totally good] without a political solution and without bringing stability to Syria, but we are going well.”

“We are focused on the political process. Turkey is playing a leading role here,” Cavusoglu added.

Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011 when the Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.

Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and more than 10 million others displaced, according to UN officials.

Turkey, Russia, and Iran are the guarantor states that brokered a cease-fire in Syria in December 2016, leading to the Astana peace talks that are running parallel to the Geneva talks.

Cavusoglu, who is expected to complete his Los Angeles visit on Saturday, will head to Canada to attend the international foreign ministers meeting on North Korea.

The minister is also expected to meet with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson during the event.


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