Turkey’s deputy prime minister on Tuesday warned Balkan countries that they should not tolerate efforts by FETO — the terror group behind the 2016 defeated coup in Turkey — to infiltrate their societies.
Speaking at the South-East European Countries Cooperation Process (SEECP) summit in the Slovenian capital Ljubljana, Hakan Cavusoglu said the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) is using educational and other institutions as shields.
"They try to infiltrate the systems of the countries where they are present. We expect the countries of the region not to tolerate this and to take necessary measures," he stressed.
FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, which left 250 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.
Ankara accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, including the military, police, and schools.
FETO also has an extensive network of schools abroad — providing a major revenue stream — which Turkey has been encouraging countries abroad to close down or shift into the ownership of a Turkish education foundation.
Turkey opened its borders to 3.5 million Syrian refugees and fought Daesh and PKK terrorism, Cavusoglu pointed out.
He added that if Turkey had not taken these steps, the main issue of the summit would be terror and migrant flows faced by the Balkans and southeastern Europe.
Cavusoglu said Turkey's fight against terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq has made very important contributions to the security of Europe, EU, and NATO.
"Thanks to the measures we have taken, foreign terrorists passing through our country and European countries has been prevented," he stressed.