Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday said Ankara would not allow the Fetullah Terrorist Organisation (FETO) to make South Africa its base.
At the inauguration of a new Turkish Embassy building in South Africa’s capital Pretoria, Erdogan warned the country of the threat of FETO as South Africa is one of the countries where the group is most active.
“In our eyes, there is no difference between terrorist organisations,” he said, adding that Daesh is the same as FETO, the PKK, Boko Haram, and Al Shabab.
Turkey sees FETO and its US-based leader Fetullah Gulen as forces behind the defeated coup in Turkey in 2016, which left at least 250 people killed and nearly 2,600 injured.
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 has a considerable presence outside Turkey, including private schools that serve as a revenue stream for the terrorist group.
Turkish embassies in Africa
Under the government of the Justice and Development (AK) Party, the number of Turkey’s embassies in Africa has more than tripled, from 12 to 41, Erdogan said as he inaugurated a new building for Ankara’s representation in Pretoria.
“I see this building as a sign of the value our country places on relations with the Republic of South Africa,” Erdogan said at the inauguration of a new Turkish embassy building in South Africa’s capital Pretoria.
“Today we usher in this new building, giving us the opportunity to provide better service with physical conditions worthy of the Republic of Turkey,” Erdogan said.
Turkey and South Africa first opened embassies in each other’s capitals in the post-apartheid era, in 1993 and 1994, through a mutual agreement.
Erdogan arrived in South Africa on Wednesday as a guest of the annual summit of BRICS countries — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
He added that Turkey is working to strengthen its diplomatic representations abroad.
“We’re working to increase the number, capacity and representation ability of our missions in African countries,” he said.
Erdogan also said his government has long encouraged and supported non-governmental organisations and businesspeople in their efforts to forge ties with Africa.
Mentioning Turkey’s efforts to help least-developed countries, Erdogan said it ranks first in the world with $8.2 billion in annual aid.[source: TRT world]