On the 6th anniversary of the July 15 coup attempt, a July 15 panel was held at the Turkish Maarif Foundation Headquarters in İstanbul. The guests of the panel, moderated by researcher writer İhsan Aktaş, were Lawyer Hüseyin Aydın and journalist-writer Nedim Şener. The Chairman of the Turkish Maarif Foundation Professor Birol Akgün delivering an opening speach at the panel said, TMF has become a part of international education by opening its own schools abroad other than taking over FETÖ affiliated schools.
“After the treacherous coup attempt on July 15, 2016, many countries developed different strategies for FETÖ schools. Some countries nationalized FETO affiliated schools, some closed them for good, some transferred them to third parties, yet others transferred these schools to the Turkish Maarif Foundation. In nearly three-quarters of the countries outside the West, FETÖ-affiliated schools were intervened,” he added.
Professor Akgün emphasized that immediately after July 15, the Turkish Maarif Foundation found many files in front of them regarding the take over of the FETÖ-affiliated schools abroad. He underlined that the Foundation continues to strike a blow on the [terrorist] organization by taking transfer of FETÖ-affiliated schools in a 6-year period. Akgün expressed gratitude to the panelists for their participation.
Moderator Aktaş opening the panel after Akgün’s speech, said that FETÖ showed its true face in the murder of [the Turkish-Armenian journalist] Hrant Dink, and that with the July 15 coup attempt, FETÖ proved being a terrorist organization leaving no room for discussion. According to Aktaş, the Judiciary put up a fight by taking risk right after July 15 and the reflex shown [against] the coup decreased slowly.
“FETÖ Members are Very Good at Manipulation”
Moderator Aktaş gave the floor to Journalist-writer Nedim Şener. The panelist said the Turkish Maarif Foundation is an institution that plays an active and effective role in the fight against FETÖ, and that he is grateful to the Foundation for this reason. Şener underlined that the fight against FETÖ is not over yet and warned that it should to be pursued more strictly. “Since FETÖ is an organization based on lies and slander, it is an extremely dangerous structure. As the Turkish Maarif Foundation, you experience this situation better in the field. Things that could not have been said, or done, five years ago are now on the agenda. Politicians who fail to find a cover for the victimization of FETÖ members, are doing PR work [for FETÖ] in the world through statutory decrees and the counter-terrorism law,” said the panelist.
Şener touching on the inner front of the fight against FETÖ said: “They are trying to send a message to the judiciary through some names from the inside. They are defending terrorist organizations under the guise of democracy. They are trying to create public opinion through military students. This is what FETO does. For instance, they know that by establishing a petty association in Stockholm, they will create a sea with small drops. Unfortunately, we fail to do that.” With these remarks, the panelist shed a light on the the problematic aspects of the fight against the organization.
Noting that the members of the organization are masters of manipulation, Şener added: “We must be as vigilant as they are. I ask to myself since the coup attempt, if I did not do anything about FETÖ, I consider that day wasted. We are talking about a terrorist organization on which the sun never sets. They particularly mess with Turkey every day. They repeat the same lie for days. They are in all kind of disguise and do perception work.” The panelist touched upon the fact that FETÖ continues to fight with Turkey through manipulative actions and discourses.
Journalist-writer Şener said the most important duty in the fight against FETÖ falls on to the clergy and the Presidency of Religious Affairs. “We need to think about what we should do about the fight against FETÖ. FETÖ and similar organizations maintain their existence with international support and the support of some domestic political structures. Therefore, everyone who feels attachment to this land has important duties in the fight against FETÖ,” the panelist concluded.
“Education is the Long-Term Solution in the Fight against FETÖ”
Lawyer Hüseyin Aydın taking the floor after Şener emphasized that the FETÖ issue was not in the view of the Judiciary just as it was not in the view of some other state institutions. The Judiciary has recently regarded this structure as a crime organization, Aydın added. “Why did it fail to show the necessary reflex? In order to understand this, first of all, it is necessary to understand the organization and the years in which it was organized within the state. Efficacy of the politicians were restricted in the aftermath of the 1960 [military] coup [d’etat]. The judicial bureaucracy was the main constituent that governed the state. So, the organization built itself through this strategy. Another critical pillar of this strategy was the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF). Therei, they began to organized in the 1980s. Their structuring in the military high school was deciphered in 1986.” Panelist Aydın said the FETÖ’s infiltration into the state has a 50-year-old story.
Aydın brought to attention that the fight against FETÖ was thought to have taken place between President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the organization itself before July 15. “Together with the judiciary, we have to find other ways in the fight against FETÖ. The youth of this country are deliberately being turned into the enemies of the state. They are turning into servants of another state, knowingly or unknowingly. We need to prevent this. When we look at how people are turned into unconscious slaves[/estranged to their self identity], we face with a concept of 'infallible' leadership. It is not possible to eradicate the organization without destroying this concept.” With these remarks, Aydın referred that there are political, legal and sociological pillars into this fight.
Aydın likened the stepping back from the July 15 brink to the rescue of a patient diagnosed with cancer at the 6th stage and whose recovery seems impossible. “But this body can no longer bear a similar disease. The nation saved the state on July 16[, 2016]. The nation now expects of the state to take steps to prevent such an incident from happening again. It was clearly seen on the morning of July 16 that success is impossible if the nation stands up even if the bureaucracy is seized. If they succeed through politics what they could not achieve on July 15, this fight will be meaningless.”
Aydın highlighted that education is the way for a long-term fight with the organization is education. The Panelist concluded his remarks as that if FETÖ takes the opportunity again, it would be the end of the country, that a consensus was formed in favor of the fight and that we should be more sensitive about this issue.
The panel ended after a Q&A session.