Baku, Azerbaijan, July 15
Today, western leaders have a choice between standing in solidarity with terrorists or regaining the favour of the Turkish people, wrote Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in his article dedicated to the first anniversary of the July 15 coup attempt in Turkey, published by The Guardian newspaper.
According to the author, there is no way to sugar-coat this betrayal of Turkey’s friendship – which is incompatible with bilateral relations and fundamental values alike.
Turkey, a year after the attempted coup, is defending democratic values, says the article.
“Exactly one year ago, millions of Turkish citizens set aside their political, cultural and ethnic differences to form a united front against the plotters who tried to suspend our country’s constitution, shot at innocent civilians and bombed the parliament,” noted Erdogan in his article.
In thwarting this assault, 250 people lost their lives and another 2,193 were injured, according to the article.
“My government’s continuing efforts to bring to justice Fethullah Gulen and his followers – who, evidence suggests, were behind the failed coup – isn’t just important for Turkey but for democracy everywhere,” wrote the Turkish president.
Those who turned their weapons against innocent civilians on 15 July hit a brick wall made of a decade of progress in politics, economics, healthcare, justice, foreign policy and fundamental rights, says the article.
“The thwarting of the coup marked a turning point in the history of democracy; it will be a source of hope and inspiration for all peoples who live under dictators. Unfortunately Turkey’s allies, particularly our friends in the west, have been unable to fully appreciate the significance of what happened. Instead of expressing solidarity with my countrymen, a number of western governments and institutions opted to wait and see how the crisis would play out. Their hypocrisy and double standards deeply disturbed the Turkish people, who risked everything to defend freedom,” wrote Erdogan.
“To add insult to injury, dozens of senior leaders of FETO, the organisation led by Gulen, have been granted asylum by our country’s self-proclaimed friends and allies,” added the Turkish president.
Nor is it possible to justify the criticism directed at Turkey for declaring a state of emergency at a time when several countries that face relatively minor national security threats have opted to do the same, says the article.
On July 15, 2016, Turkish authorities said a military coup attempt took place in the country as a group of servicemen announced about transition of power to them. However, the rebelling servicemen started to surrender July 16 and Turkish authorities said the coup attempt failed. More than 200 people were killed during the attempted coup.