Turkish President, Tayyip Erdogan, has alleged that persons involved in the July 15 failed coup attempt in Turkey are ‘very active in Nigeria.’
Mr Erdogan said this when President Muhammadu Buhari hosted him on a two-day official visit to Nigeria.
“The perpetrators of the heinous failed coup of July the 15th FETO are still very active in Nigeria,” the Turkish leader said.
“And we are continuously sharing our intelligence with Nigerian interlocutors and authorities,” he added, according to a statement by Mr Buhari’s office.
He said the Turkish government “hopes and pray” that the relations between the two nations would be further developed on the basis of a win-win situation and on the basis of mutual respect.
‘Pledge collaboration in security’
As Turkey, we have been closely monitoring the development in Nigeria in our brotherly and friendly nation, Mr Erdogan told Mr Buhari at the seat of power. “The terrorist organisations, the armed gangs and the marine vendors are continuously active in Nigeria and the Nigerian authorities are continuously fighting them.”
In order to cooperate further in the field of military operations, defence and security, we are doing everything that will be available, he added.
“We are ready to share our capabilities, every extending capacity as Turkey with Nigeria especially in the field of defence, industry and security which are being praised by the globe.
“The sensitivity we show in fighting terrorism, I hope will be reciprocated by our Nigeran brothers and sister and our counterparts.”
On July 15, 2016, Turkey saw a deadly coup attempt against Mr Erdogan and his elected government. A mutinous faction of soldiers staged a short-lived insurrection that birthed mass protests in Istanbul and elsewhere.
More than 250 people were killed, including many civilians, and thousands injured. A brutal crackdown followed, spreading beyond those allegedly linked to Gulen before order was restored.
The Turkish government pinned the attempted coup on Fethullah Gulen, a U.S.-based cleric who founded a global network of influential schools and charities.
Some followers of Gulen have admitted that they took part in the bloody events of July 15 but Mr Gulen has denied any involvement in the attempted coup and suggested that his former ally turned arch-rival, Mr Erdogan, might actually be behind the coup himself, given the sheer wave of arrests after the coup.
Following the coup and subsequent declaration of the Gulen Movement as a terrorist group, Turkey requested the U.S. to extradite Mr Gulen, who has been living in the country since 1999 but the U.S. demurred, saying it needed clear evidence of Mr Gulen’s involvement in the coup.
After the coup, the Turkish government decided to close down all schools linked to the movement in Turkey and implore other countries to do the same because the schools are run by those Mr Erdogan described as terrorists.
But many African countries, including Nigeria, turned down Mr Erdogan’s requests to either take control or close schools, hospitals and other facilities linked to followers of Mr Gulen.
Soon after the attempted coup, the Turkish Ambassador to Nigeria, Hakan Cakil, called on the Nigerian government to close 17 Turkish schools.
He said the schools are run by an organisation that uses education as a façade to hide their real intent.
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