The international community often expresses its condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, as well as its determination to fight terrorism. This is an appropriate attitude, because terrorism remains a major threat to common security, well-being, values and the prospects for a better future for humanity.
The phenomenon of terrorism has changed in recent years. During this process, as the objectives and means of terrorist organizations have broadened, their actions have taken on new dimensions. Terrorist organizations try to adapt to social, economic and technological changes and to a rapidly changing international environment.
Some terrorist groups are not clearly visible and hide behind a cleverly designed propaganda tool. This case also requires a review of our global counterterrorism strategy. The effective fight against terrorism requires a global awareness and awareness of the next generation of terrorist organizations, as well as a new perspective and a strong political will in this regard which the international community must demonstrate.
It is time to shatter stereotypes, to review our established theses in the face of the new threat of terrorism. A new type of terrorist organization, the Fethullah Terrorist Organization (Fetö), and Turkey’s fight against it are a striking example in this regard.
Turkey faced a brutal coup attempt from Fetö on July 15, 2016. The secret terrorist organization, which infiltrated state organs, attempted to destroy democracy and forcibly overthrow the government democratically elected. During that dark night, following the terrorist acts in Fetö, 251 of our fellow citizens were killed and more than 2,000 injured. State institutions, in particular our Parliament and the Presidency, in which the nation’s free will is anchored, have been attacked by heavy weapons, including tanks, military planes and helicopters.
How could the members of Fetö be so cruel to the Turkish nation that night? How did they become so hostile to the elected government and the legitimate constitutional order?
Our answers to these questions may contain clues about the emergence and structure of this very dangerous group, which functions effectively in several countries.
Members of this insidious organization have been subjected to ideological indoctrination and brainwashing in Turkey and several other countries through abuse of the most sacred national and spiritual values, especially in the so-called educational institutions in the form schools, language centers or dormitories. Their worldviews were also shaped around a myth of wisdom fabricated around the leader of the circle, Fethullah Gulen, who was declared “Imam of the universe”.
The distorted hierarchy within Fetö means that his orders are seen as absolute facts, which cannot be questioned even if they are contrary to democratic values and human rights.
Fetö brainwashed young people so much that they ended up alienating their friends, even their families, to ensure their full obedience. Fetö’s conspirators, like remote-controlled robots, did not hesitate to point weapons at their colleagues and comrades to take them down on the night of July 15, after receiving instructions from Fetö.
Individuals affiliated with Fetö are also able to hide by assuming different identities in the society in which they live. The organization specifically targeted the civil, military and security bureaucracy. The ultimate goal of all of this is to dominate the institutions of the state.
Turkey’s experience before the coup attempt is replete with examples of illegal methods Fetö can use to advance his agenda, including blackmailing politicians and officials, resorting to large-scale systematic fraud in central examinations to place its members in state institutions, manipulation, fictitious allegations to initiate legal proceedings against their opponents and the use of media networks, businesses, schools and NGOs who have this goal.
Fetö’s first target is of course the Republic of Turkey. Therefore, they are involved in a systematic counter-propaganda activity aimed at directing international public opinion against Turkey.
However, I would like to share the following friendly advice: It would be a grave mistake to think that Fetö is only threatening Turkey. There is no doubt that judicial inquiries launched in the countries where Fetö has deployed will reveal many illegal activities ranging from financial corruption to fraud in visa applications and asylum. It is high time that these countries took this step.
Contrary to what its members claim, Fetö is not part of a political conflict in Turkey, but of a bloody terrorist and criminal network. All the political parties represented in the Turkish Grand National Assembly, in the government or in the opposition, consider Fetö to be a terrorist network.
My message is clear. We must act together and with the same determination against all terrorist organizations, whatever their forms, including Fetö.
No compromise can be made with those who commit acts of terrorism. As in the case of Fetö, we must defend democracy and freedoms, taking into account the hidden side of terrorism. We owe it to our fellow citizens, victims of terrorism and to future generations.
Translated by Luiz Roberto M. Gonçalves