Speech By Ambassador Osman Koray Ertaş On The Occasion Of 15 July Democracy And National Unity Day Reception And Anadolu Agency Photo Exhibition

Bükreş Büyükelçiliği 15.07.2017

Distinguished guests,

Dear colleagues,

Ladies and gentlemen,

I am pleased to welcome you all to our Democracy and National Unity Day reception and the launch of the Anadolu Agency photo exhibition.

Today, we are commemorating the first anniversary of the failed coup attempt in Turkey, a violent siege that was thwarted by the bravery and sacrifice of the Turkish people.

As we have just had a glimpse through the short film we watched, this was the worst act of terror in the history of the Turkish Republic, unprecedented in its nature and results. On that night, the putschists used lethal military hardware against innocent civilians, taking the lives of 250 Turkish citizens and wounding more than 2000 people. They used fighter jets and attack helicopters to bomb the Turkish Parliament and the Presidential Compound. They attempted to assassinate the President and the Prime Minister.

July 15 was a trial of strength and perseverance for the Turkish State and its democracy. It makes us proud to have passed this test. All political parties, both in the government and the opposition, the non-affiliated elements of the Turkish security forces, our vibrant civil society and the media took a firm stance against the putsch. It was the people of Turkey, from all walks of life, of diverse political colors who displayed a historic example of solidarity as they stood selflessly in front of the tanks and defended their democratic rights. They delivered a clear message that nothing could prevail over the will of the people.

In this context, I want to thank our Romanian friends for the support they extended in those difficult times. We will always remember their show of solidarity with the Turkish people in the aftermath of the coup attempt. We will particularly remember the visit of the then Foreign Minister of Romania, together with the Polish Foreign Minister to Ankara a month after the attempt in August last year.

Distinguished guests,

July 15 was a stark revelation of the existential threat that targeted the very foundations of the Turkish state. It was the culmination of the decades-long undertaking of Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) to infiltrate all critical state structures with the ultimate aim to overtake the state and re-design the current regime according to their destructive, vicious ambitions. The secretive nature of this organization allowed them to silently advance their cause in Turkey and abroad.

July 15 brought to light the real face of the so-called Gulenists. FETÖ is not a benign civic movement as they try hard to portray. What we face is a global enterprise, with solid, global aspirations of power. FETÖ is present in more than 150 countries around the world. What happened in Turkey a year ago is a reminder of what this organization may be capable of doing elsewhere. We paid a heavy price for conceding to their benign discourse. We do not want other countries to suffer a similar fate in the future. That is why we advise our friends and partners around the world to be vigilant against this double faced organization.

The July 15 coup attempt was a huge challenge that we succeeded to overcome. Our economy proved its resilience once again. The inbound FDI in Q1 of this year hit 2,8 billion USD, registering an increase of about 2 percent year-on-year. With a striking 5 percent rate in Q1 of this year, Turkey registered one of the highest GDP growths in the world. In the meantime, Turkey’s 550 billion USD investment plan for 2014-2023 geared to create a competetively diversified economy based on innovation. This budget surpasses all its peers.

However, we are aware that other challenges lie ahead. While taking steps to address those challenges in conformity with our national legislation and international obligations, we have been careful to keep the right balance between the freedoms and security needs of our people. Domestic administrative and judicial remedies were introduced for reviewing measures for those who claim they have been wrongfully suspected. We have also maintained constructive dialogue and cooperation with relevant international mechanisms, notably the Council of Europe.

Now, a year after that fateful night, our determination to defend democracy and to fight FETÖ and other subversive organisations remains intact. We will continue to walk along this path bound by our commitment to uphold rule of law and justice. This is indeed the only way to effectively counter terrorism. We aspire to do so as we also fight the most dangerous terrorist organisations simultaneously, namely the PKK and DEASH. In these critical times, we count on receiving the much-needed support and encouragement of our friends.

Dear friends, thank you once again as you show solidarity with us by being in this event, which marks an important anniversary for the Turkish nation.

Now allow me to address to our community members in Turkish.

Thank you.