By Lizzy Okoji
The Turkish Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Hidayet Bayraktar, on Thursday re-echoed the bloody coup attempt staged in the country five years ago, condemning the brutality of the putsch that left 251 Turkish citizens dead.
Speaking at a ceremony to commemorate Turkey’s Democracy and National Unity Day in Abuja, Bayraktar said that more than 2,000 Turkish citizens were also injured on the night of the foiled coup on July 15, 2016.
He described the treachery displayed by the conspirators that night as the worst act of terror in the history of Turkey.
“July 15 has become a day to celebrate the strength and perseverance of Turkish democracy which was fought for by its people.’’
The envoy said it was impossible to find appropriate words to describe the brutality and treachery that the conspirators displayed that night five years ago.
He recalled that the coup was carried out by members of the Fetullah Gulen Terrorist Organisation (FETO), in their bid to take control of the Turkish state and run a regime of “perverted religious ethos’’.
The envoy said that the people of Turkey from all walks of life resisted and displayed a historic example of solidarity as they stood selflessly in front of tanks and reclaimed their democratic rights.
The ambassador described FETO as a mafia-like terror group, with clandestine political goals that is not only a threat to Turkey but also to other countries.
“Today, we are commemorating the fifth anniversary of the thwarted coup attempt of July 15, 2016. July 15 was not a typical military coup attempt.
“The perpetrators of the hideous undertaking actually consisted of the disciples of Fetullah Gulen, the man who calls himself “Imam of the Universe”.
“Members of Fetullah Gulen Terrorist Organisation committed acts of terror against innocent civilians who took to the streets to defend their democratic institutions.
“They killed their comrades in arms and commanders who refused to take part in the coup attempt.
“They used fighter jets to bomb the Turkish Parliament, the presidential compound, the National Intelligence Headquarters and Special Forces Headquarters in an effort to subdue the resistance against them.
“They even attempted to assassinate the president and the prime minister of Turkey.
“July 15, was an important trial date for the strength and perseverance of Turkish democracy. We are proud that with the will of the Turkish people, we have passed this test.
“Today, we gathered to commemorate their sacrifices. We will plant trees to honour the lives lost.
“We will inaugurate our “July 15: Victory Day” photo exhibition to mark their great struggle to protect democracy.
The envoy also prayed for God’s mercy upon those who paid the utmost price to save democracy in Turkey, saying that their sacrifices would never be in vain.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that members of the diplomatic corps as well as the FCT Minister, Mr Mohammed Bello, attended the event, the highpoint of which were tree planting and photo exhibition, among other events. (NAN)