The activities carried out by US-based preacher Fetullah Gulen and his Fetullah Terror Organization (FETO) in Africa are politically motivated and have nothing to do with religion, said a diplomat Wednesday.
“FETO targets the wealthy, the bureaucrats and the politicians in Africa and carries out work oriented towards their children,” said Cemalettin Kani Torun, a former Turkish ambassador to Somalia and a current deputy for the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party in the northwestern Turkish province of Bursa.
Torun said FETO has built schools, established a strong economic network and conducted a political agenda across the African continent.
“They do not [provide] aid or [conduct] religious activities,” he said.
Torun called for schools run by FETO, held responsible for the deadly July 15 coup attempt in Turkey, to be transferred to local educational and administrative authorities “if possible”.
Ankara has repeatedly said the deadly coup attempt, which martyred at least 238 people and injured nearly 2,200 others, was organized by the followers of Gulen.
“Turkey is an active country in Africa. Turkey has commercial and development activities in Africa,” Torun said.
“African countries will not sacrifice relations with [Turkey] for the [FETO] organization.”
“Even in Ghana where nearly half of the population are Muslims, they [FETO] make priest give religious lessons,” Torun said. “They [FETO] have no religious concerns.”
The Somali government has already begun to take some measures against FETO elements in their country, according to Torun.
“FETO schools are creating danger in these countries,” he said.
The Somali government announced on July 16 it is suspending a school linked to the organization behind the failed coup bid, following a request by Ankara.
Torun said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had personally asked African leaders to take action against the FETO-run institutions when he visited Africa.
Gulen is also accused of implementing a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary, forming what is commonly known as the parallel state.
Anadolu News Agency