The ambassador during the press conference./ Photo: TD
Eduardo González. 15/07/2017
The Turkish ambassador, Ömer Önhon, thanked yesterday the “satisfactory and immediate” response from the Spanish Government to the coup d’état of July 15, 2016, which occurred just one year ago, and said that the Ankara authorities are unaware of the whereabouts of three members of the embassy (two diplomats and one military) and “several NATO Turkish soldiers” investigated by the attempt.
“On July 15 there was an attempted coup by a group of soldiers who, supported by civilians and supported by planes and tanks, bombed the Turkish Parliament for the first time in its history”, the ambassador said during a press conference at the Embassy’s headquarters.
The perpetrators of the coup, he continued, were “terrorists of FETO“, the organization led by Fethullah Gülen (resident in the United States), who have “infiltrated state institutions, especially in the Ministries of Justice, Interior, Education and Defense”, and have taken positions “in important areas of decision, such as the press, academies, universities and business associations”. “FETO is an octopus that is everywhere”, he added.
“In Turkey there is democracy and free elections. They could have created a political party and stand for election, but they preferred to commit a crime and seize power by a coup”, Önhon said.
The ambassador categorically rejected the accusations against the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of having taken advantage of the attempt of coup d’etat to attack all the opposition.
The ambassador praises the “immediate” response of Spain after the coup in contrast to other EU countries
“It is not true, we are acting against people suspected of being behind the coup”, he said. “These people will appear in court and pay those who have done so. What is not guilty will be cleared of their charges and reinstalled in their work”, said the ambassador, who said that of the 100,000 people investigated, 8,000 have been jailed and 40,000 have been released from office and returned to their posts.
The investigations, he continued, include Turkish foreign service personnel. “23% of diplomats and military of embassies are suspected of being related to the coup. These people have been given the order to return to Turkey to investigate them, and some have returned and others have not”, he explained.
In the case of Spain, a case has been opened against two diplomats and one military man from the Embassy and against “some soldiers” stationed at NATO headquarters in Bétera (Valencia). “These persons (whose dismissal had informed The Diplomat) have been ordered to return, but they have not done so and we do not know where they are”, said Ömer Önhon, who was also unable to say if they had requested political asylum in Spain or any other country.
Regarding the international response to the coup d’état, the ambassador lamented that the EU countries had not reacted “more quickly and strongly in support of Turkey” and praised, in contrast, the “satisfactory and immediate” response of Spain, whose minister Foreign Affairs and Cooperation at that time, José Manuel García-Margallo, visited Turkey just three months later to express his “solidarity”.