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DC panel addresses Turkey’s July 15 failed coup

Coup attempt was a lesson for Turkey and no group will be able to repeat it, says vice-chair of Turkey's ruling party

By Safvan Allahverdi and Muhammed Bilal Kenasari

WASHINGTON 

July 15 was a day when the people of Turkey stood up for democracy and their country, a senior Turkish lawmaker said Monday.

Speaking at a panel organized by the Washington-based think tank SETA on the 2016 defeated coup attempt orchestrated by the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), Ravza Kavakci Kan, vice-chair of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), said on the night when the putschists attempted to overthrow the democratically elected government, people took to the streets to stand up for democracy even before the announcement came from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Kan noted that a review commission was established for those who were dismissed from their jobs following the coup attempt, adding only two percent of the cases were wrongly decided by the commission.

“The July 15 coup attempt was a lesson learned the hard way for Turkey, but it will not be possible for any other group to do the same thing in the future,” she added.

The panel, titled “The Legacy of the July 15 Coup Attempt on Civil-Military and U.S.-Turkey Relations”, was also attended by Sener Akturk, a scholar from Turkey-based Koc University, professor of military history Edward Erickson, foreign policy expert Mark Perry, defense expert Mark Kimmitt, Richard Outzen, a member of the U.S. State Department policy planning staff and expert on Turkey, SETA DC Director Kadir Ustun and SETA DC Research Director Kilic Bugra Kanat and members of the media.

Akturk, who was the other speaker, emphasized that the state of Turkey faced two “totalitarian assaults” around the same time when the PKK terrorist organization ended its ceasefire and the coup attempt took place in July 2016.

“Both of these events posed similar existential threats to Turkey’s democracy,” he said. “Both the PKK and FETO exploited grievances in Turkish society that were being increasingly addressed by the Turkish state.”

Evaluating military-civilian relations between Turkey and the U.S., Perry and Erickson also shared their impressions on the Turkish army.

The defeated coup of July 2016, orchestrated by FETO and its U.S.-based leader, Fetullah Gulen, left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.

Since the coup attempt, Turkey has sought Gulen’s extradition from the U.S. and has complained that the U.S. is not moving fast enough.

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.

FETO also has a considerable presence outside Turkey, including at private educational institutions that serve as a revenue stream for the terrorist group, including in the U.S.

[AA, 17 July 2018]

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