India ‘infiltrated’ by Turkey coup mastermind followers, warns Ankara

© Alkis Konstantinidis
Supporters of the US-based Islamist cleric Fethullah Gulen whom Ankara believes to have been behind the military coup attempt last month have already “infiltrated” India, the Turkish FM claimed, urging Indian authorities to shut down Gulenist organizations.

Referring to the group led by Gulen as FETO (Gulenist Terror Organization, a term used by non-Gulenists) Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Saturday: “Unfortunately, FETO has also infiltrated India through associations and schools.”

Gulen’s organization is a “transnational” one and has its followers around the world, he added. Claiming that the cleric’s supporters represent a threat to Turkey’s and India’s national security, Cavusoglu urged India to take action to shut down organizations linked to the cleric.

“I have already taken up this issue with my counterpart,” Cavusoglu told the Press Trust of India on Sunday following talks with India’s Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj.

“In all countries where FETO has a presence, we ask them to take immediate actions to remove them from their territories,” he said.

India, in its turn said it is “looking into” to the Turkish FM’s request and remains “sensitive” to Ankara’s concerns.

President Tayyip Erdogan accuses his former ally Fethullah Gulen of orchestrating the failed coup attempt on July 15. The cleric who has lived in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since 1999 denies the accusations.

Ankara has been calling on the US to extradite Gulen, however, Washington has refused to do it until clear evidence of the cleric’s involvement has been provided.

The US’ refusal to hand over the cleric is “destroying” Turkish-American relations and has resulted in just “so-so” cooperation, Turkey’s Prime Minister said on Saturday, as cited by Bloomberg.

“Nothing is the same after July 15,” said Prime Minister Binali Yildirim. “America knows this, and we know they know it.”

The statements made by the Turkish FM and PM come just days before an official visit of the US Vice President Joe Biden sought to “fix” the current gap in the US-Turkey ties and sort out differences regarding Gulen. The US Justice Department will also send a team to Ankara conduct a probe into Turkey’s allegations of Gulen’s criminal activity.

READ MORE: Erdogan ultimatum: ‘US has to choose between Turkey & Gulen’

Over 60,000 people have been detained, suspended or placed under investigation following the attempted overthrow of the Turkish president. The staggering number has been of concern to the West which suspects Erdogan is taking advantage of the situation to clampdown on dissent.