The Turkish Ambassador to Namibia Deniz Çakar says her country is in the process of finalising an extradition request for the cleric it blames for the July 15 coup attempt in Turkey. The cleric, Fethullah Gülen, is based in the USA in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania, from where he leads a popular movement called Hizmet.
“The official request for his return is in the process,” said Çakar on Friday, adding: “We have solid proof that this coup attempt was staged by the Fethullah Gülen Terrorist Organisation (FETO).”
Gülen has publicly rejected all accusations that he was behind the coup attempt and has dared the Turkish government to present the evidence that he has indeed attempted a coup. In interviews he had with international media he is quoted as saying “there is a possibility that it could be a staged coup” to be used as justification for him and his followers to be targeted, even though he personally rejected all military interventions.
Nevertheless Çakar, who was briefing Namibian journalists at the Turkish embassy in Windhoek, said the Turkish government had gathered enough proof against Gülen and his followers. The proof, she said, include the confession of the chief of staff “who allowed other plotters to hold him hostage” during the attempted coup.
“He revealed that he is a member of this [Gülen] network, and has been sending information he is not supposed to, to the network,” Çakar said.
Engineers and academics are among those detained as being part of the Gülen network, and their detainment is to deter them from continuing with their underground work, she said.
“Even some engineers have been tapping phones … there is greater evidence this is happening,” Çakar said.
The current situation is that the “main backbone of the coup plotters have been captured and legal process has began”.
“The government and our nation nevertheless remain vigilant against possible attempts by individuals or residual cells to take revenge or to disrupt public order and security,” she said.
The three-month state of emergency declared is likely to remain in place for one and a half months, said Çakar, who described the state of emergency as necessary for the state “to assess this network … to cleanse it in a way.”
This is because, she said, FETO has dangerous undercover networks not only in the army but also in several state organs.
The ambassador also described as unfortunate and disturbing media reports of human rights violations in the aftermath of the attempted coup.
“It is like a snake with a fish in its mouth and reports are saying ‘this is a heroic snake rescuing the fish from drowning,’” she said.
The coup attempt left 240 people dead including 62 police officers, and more than 1 400 injured, including rebel military personnel. All six Namibian students studying in Turkey, on a Turkish scholarship, are safe, Çakar said.
There was also a Namibian delegation in Turkey during the coup attempt, but all Namibians were safe and arrived back in Namibia safely.
The ambassador said a group of eight involved in the coup attempt fled to Greece on-board a helicopter that they stole.
“The helicopter was returned and we look forward to expulsion of the eight Turkish citizens from Greece as soon as possible,” she said.