English Translation Of The Interview Given By H. E. Ambassador To Lusa On 19 July 2016 Regarding The Coup Attempt

Lizbon Büyükelçiliği 31.07.2016

LUSA, 20 July, 2016, 08:14 | World

Turkey's Ambassador in Lisbon said in an interview to LUSA that in her country there is a wish for a presidential system, and pointed out that the possible reintroduction of the death penalty will have to be discussed and approved by the Parliament.

"It is true that in Turkey there is a wish for a presidential regime, which requires a change in the Constitution. It is something that should be decided by the Parliament and a certain number of votes to achieve this result is needed. But I can't prejudge the Parliament´s decisions in the coming days, as a result of the recent events”, Ebru Barutçu Gökdenizler said, when questioned about the country's possible consequences of Friday´s failed military coup attempt.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Government assign the coup attempt to what they call the Fethullah Gülen´s Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), in a reference to the influential Islamic cleric who in 1999 self-exiled in the USA and starting from 2013, the former ally of the current Head of State became one of his main enemies, accused of wanting to create a "parallel State" in the country through his influence in teaching, military, judicial areas and in the media.

"The Turkish authorities have irrefutable evidence that it was the action of FETÖ", the diplomat assured, and Ankara has already sent a file to the US authorities aimed at justifing the request for the extradition of Erdoğan´s former ally."At the moment I think that the Government will act on sources indicating that there is a direct link with the FETÖ organization, responsible for this failed coup d'etat", she said. "We are asking the USA to extradite Fethullah Gülen, the official request has been made and I believe that we are also asking that in the meantime he should be placed under detention until the process evolves".

The Ambassador of Turkey still underlined the "important role played" by several Turkish media organs to prevent the coup, acknowledged that a "trauma" remains due to the military uprising features that led to a "bloodbath", and said it was necessary to understand the current “climate” that the country is living today."We're talking about treason… In this case, it would not be normal for certain media outlets to make propaganda (of the coup) in their own channels", she said.

And she pointed out: “There's a major trauma… It is natural for our authorities to wish to bring those people who are responsible to justice. And justice will prevail in the context of the due process of law".

In contrast, she ensures that "people are also celebrating the fact that they have defended democracy, which also demonstrates the maturity reached by the democracy in Turkey. To the extent that the people have defended their democracy and countered this conspiracy ".

In this context the diplomat has pointed out that, for the first time, "the people became the target of the plotters, the Parliament was bombed, the presidential palace was bombed, this had never happened", motivating more emotive reactions in the aftermath of the violent clashes that have caused about 300 deaths and almost 2,000 wounded.

Thus, and alluding to popular calls for the reintroduction of the death penalty, she recalled the response by President Erdoğan in the interview he gave on Monday night to the American CNN International television network, and where he said that it is a matter which should be discussed by the Parliament.

“In recent years, in Turkey, numerous reforms have been carried out, one of them was the abolition of the death penalty, we have promoted numerous reforms, of course, these have been within our EU accession process, a strategic goal for Turkey and we continue to follow this path. But I think it is too early to draw conclusions,it is something that should be discussed in the Turkish Parliament and we will see what happens", Ebru Gökdenizler said.

On the possible application of martial law in the country, a measure that was being advanced today by several media, the Ambassador said that she has no knowledge of that decision and advised "not to jump to conclusions".

Concerning the calls of several allies of Turkey and of international organisations on the respect for fundamental rights, in a reference to the tens of thousands of arrests, detentions, resignations or compulsory removals in several state instutions since Friday, Ambassador told that "Some of our allies and friends have expressed support for Turkey condemning the coup d' état and supporting the elected democratic institutions, but also there were some voices that expressed concern”, she acknowledged.

"Right now, we need a little more support from our allies. First, because Turkey is a country governed by the rule of law, which means that people who are being detained, all these cases will have the respective court proceedings and will be handled in accordance with the due process of law".

The democratic nature of the Turkish regime was another aspect emphasised by Ankara´s diplomatic representative, who recalled the direct presidential election in 2014, where Erdoğan was elected with 52% of the vote, in addition to the consecutive Parliament elections, dominated by the AKP party since 2002.

"No one could argue that (Erdoğan) is not a democratic leader; our Parliament is elected, we are a full democracy and governed by the rule of law”, she stressed. "And it was possible to see that the Turkish people defended their democracy, placing themselves in front of the tanks preventing the progress of those forces which, I must emphasize, are a very small group with in the Turkish Armed Forces".

Ebru Barutçu Gökdenizler assured that in this failed coup’s aftermath, "our fight against terrorism will continue", in particular againts the Islamic State (jihadist) group, the Kurdish rebels of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), and now the FETÖ.

"We are trying to explain to our friends and allies what this organization has done. Unfortunately, till now our pleas for cooperation in this area were not listened to, but considering what happened in Turkey and FETÖ’s capacity as a terrorist organization has become clearly evident, and this is not something that can be dealt with lightly.”

According to the Ambassador, the future of Turkey remains clear: despite moments of "ups and downs", it is a "rock of stability" in a "very complicated” geopolitical environment. She concluded: "The challenges are enormous but we have a strong Government and we will keep trying… Maybe this is an opportunity to remove, once and for all, these elements that compromised our country´s stability. We will continue to be a stable inspiration, a stable rock in our part of the world".

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