Omar Bah, reporting from Istanbul
Turkish President Racep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday called on world leaders to take measures against “terrorist networks” that he said threaten global security.
“I am calling, from this podium, to all our friends, to swiftly take the necessary measures against terrorist networks around the world especially the Gulenist terrorist organisation for their own safety and for their nations,” Erdogan said.
The Turkish leader made these remarks whiles addressing thousands of people at the commemoration of the 15 July, 2016 coup attempt that claimed the lives of 251 people.
Turkish authorities have accused Fethullah Gulen of orchestrating Turkey’s failed coup in July.
Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in the US state of Pennsylvania since 1999, has denied involvement in the coup attempt.
The Turkish authorities have since asked the United State to extradite or detain the cleric.
Speaking further in front of thousands of Turkish at the second anniversary of the July 15 coup attempt in Istanbul, Erdogan said the day signifies Turkish democracy and national unity.
“I want to express my happiness to the entire nation on this day in which we remember our departed souls who put their country before their own lives to save our democracy. I want to take the opportunity to pray for the departed soul…We are proud of them,” he said.
He said the day is special for the over 81 million Turkish nationals and all innocent people around the world who are in one way or the other affected by terrorism.
“As our independence opens a new chapter in our country, July 15 will also open a new chapter in our strive to defend the independence and democracy of this great nation,” he added.
“We will never allow Feto to dominate this country because Turkey is not the stalilite of the colonisers,” he stressed.
He said the new government system undertaken by his leadership will continue to cement the country’s democracy at all cost.
President Erdogan also vowed that his administration will continue to pursue all terrorist organisations including the PKK. “Wherever they go they will find our security men and women there.”
“With the events of 15 July, we have learned lessons because we have known our real friends,” he stated.
He defended his government’s continuous crackdown, saying this is because they want to eliminate all NGOs, schools and organisation believed to be connected to terrorists both in and outside of Turkey.
“Given the strength we demonstrated on 15 July, it is clear indication that none can defeat us,” he added.
The Turkish leader also disclosed that his administration has already begun the construction of a museum for the 251 people who were killed during the attempted coup.
Meanwhile, the few Turkish nationals who spoke to The Standard on the sidelines of the celebration vowed to continue defending the integrity of the country at all times.
The crowds who turned up at the Istanbul Bosphorus bridge where the events of July 15 started, were heard chanting “is here” as the names of those killed in the coup were read.