World Bulletin / News Desk
With a coup just two months behind Turkey, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has pledged that Turkey will fight against terrorism on its own terms, in particular making reference to the US cleric Fethullah Gulen.
In his speech, Erdogan urged world leaders on Tuesday to 'immediately take all necessary steps' against FETO.
Erdogan said the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) was a threat to all nations where they operate.
"I am calling, from this podium, to all our friends, to swiftly take the necessary measures against the Gulenist terrorist organization for their own safety and the future of their nations," Erdogan said.
“It is evident by experience that if you do not fight against FETO now, tomorrow might be too late,” Turkish leader said in an address to the United Nations General Assembly.
A fraction within the Turkish Armed Forces linked to U.S.-based Fetullah Gulen, attempted to overthrow the government.
The July 15 coup followed the government’s crackdown on FETO’s clandestine operations that had been nested within the state for decades.
FETO-linked soldiers killed 241 people and injured 2194 others as well as bombed the parliament, presidential palace and several security units based in Ankara, during the coup attempt.
“I also would like to state that attributions such as Turkish, Turkey used by this terrorist organization, all the other labels therein and the persons associated with them have no association with Turkey whatsoever,” Erdogan said.
Erdogan commended his nation’s determined stance against the bloody coup. “I take pride in my nation as my nation defeated this heinous coup attempt by risking their lives.
“They showed a very noble stance,” he said. “If I stand here today before you it is thanks to our nation’s brave stance and noble stance.”
According to the Turkish president, the failed coup was “aimed at the global democracy as well”.
FETO is infiltrating state institutions, influencing the society and dominating economy “under the disguise of education, dialogue, tolerance, non-governmental organization and ostensibly good intentions,” he said.
Syria's humanitarian crisis
In reference to the humanitarian crisis concerning Syria, he said that whilst West may not, "we will keep on admitting them [Syrian refugees], because we are human beings".
"Turkey's incursion into northern Syria in early September had led to establishing peace, balance and stability in a region taken over by hopelessness".
"We cannot lose more time to realize the political resolution process and end the root of the problem, which is the fighting in Syria, terror and atmosphere of cruelty."
Turkey's incursion into Syria came after years of no responses for world powers to help create a "safe zone" along the Syrian border, with the aim of clearing out ISIL and Kurdish fighters and of stemming a wave of migration that has caused tension with Europe.
Speaking in an exclusive interview, Erdoğan told Reuters that the future of Syria should be “determined by its own people.”
“Why this killer is being backed by some states?" the Turkish president asked, referring to international support being given to Assad by states such as Russia, China and Iran.
"Assad cannot be part of any transitional period ... the world should find a solution that does not involve Assad ... Syria's territorial integrity should be respected by other countries."
Turkey has said it has no plans to stay in Syria with Erdogan making it clear that "We respect Syria's territorial integrity," Erdogan said.
Over five years since the Syrian civil war started in the context of the “Arab Spring” revolution, Erdoğan’s stance on the Assad regime has remained unchanged.
Turkey “will keep on providing all kinds of support” for its guests and will work to ameliorate their condition internationally, he said.
Erdogan said Turkey ranks number one in the world with a GDP-to-aid ratio, contributing 0.54 percent of its Gross Domestic Product as humanitarian aid.
He said Ankara has spent $12 billion on Syrian refugees it hosts within its border, while receiving only about $500,000 in assistance from the international community.
International actors, including the EU, are “expected to rise to the occasion” and meet their responsibilities by contributing more in assistance, financial and otherwise, he said.
“Barbed wires and high walls will never provide the security you are looking for,” he said, urging regional and global leaders to action.
“We cannot lose any more time” in achieving a political settlement to the Syrian conflict that has killed hundreds of thousands of people, he said.
"The [Bashar al-Assad] regime is condemning people to famine and suffering, in order to encourage them to surrender or to die,” Erdogan said.
"The UN and the Security Council should no longer tolerate the regime's policy,” he added.
Operation Euphrates Shield
Turkey launched Operation Euphrates Shield on Aug. 24 to reestablish stability and peace to a region in despair, Erdogan said.
Supporting moderate opposition fighters against ISIL and terror groups on the border, the operation has converted the border stretch from a “belt of terrorism” into a “belt of peace” and “propped up the self-confidence of” opposition fighters, the president said.
Turkish forces and opposition fighters supported by Turkish armor and aircraft “wiped out” ISIL in the area, and resettled the local inhabitants of Jarabulus and al-Rai, he said.
The World is Bigger than Five
Erdogan described the UN Security Council as “an unequal system” which failed to reflect the will of poor and underdeveloped countries.
He told that all important issues currently depended on just five countries,
Today, I would like to remind the international community once again that 'the world is bigger than five' Erdogan said, referring to the five permanent members of the Security Council’s decision-making system.
'We should try to change the system, the “representative nature of the Security Council” must be ensured so that the UN system can become “much more effective, just and fair”.'Erdogan added.
With regard to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the Turkish president called on Israel to “respect the sanctity of Temple Mount” and stop its violations in the old city in Jerusalem, one of the most important sites in the world for Muslims and Jews alike. Masjid al-Aqsa, the third holiest mosque in Islam, is part of Temple Mount, or al-Haram ash-Sharif.
“Do not even consider remaining silent,” he said, calling on world leaders to be strong in telling the truth and acting upon it, he added..
Erdogan also touched on Islamophobia, describing it as an “alternative name to racism and discrimination”, urging governments to do more to thwart it.