Including Orhan İnandı, the latest capture, over 100 FETÖ terrorists have been brought back from abroad since the group’s defeated 2016 coup in Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said after a three-hour-plus Cabinet meeting at the presidential complex in the capital Ankara.
FETÖ and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gülen orchestrated the defeated July 15, 2016 coup in Turkey, which left 251 people dead and 2,734 injured.
Ankara accuses FETÖ of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.
Turkey will continue efforts to fight and eliminate the FETÖ terror group, along with the terrorist PKK/YPG and ISIL, Erdoğan added.
“We have uncovered all the private structures and archives of the (FETÖ) organization in strategic institutions one by one,” he stressed.
Although the terror group stepped up its search for support abroad and campaigns against Turkey to stop its members from panicking, Erdoğan said there is no safe place in the world for FETÖ terrorists.
Praising the efforts of Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization, he said several top ISIL members have recently been arrested and sensitive documents captured.
Turning to the terrorist PKK, Erdoğan said, “As a result of Turkey’s successful anti-terror operations, for the first time in its history, the PKK’s so-called senior leaders cannot move, gather, or manage the organization in northern Iraq,” referring to a region near the Turkish border where the group often plans attacks.
In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US, and the EU – has been responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants. The YPG is the PKK’s Syrian offshoot.
On Turkey’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, Erdoğan urged everyone to get vaccinated to protect themselves, as well as their loved ones.
Until herd immunity is reached, everyone should follow mask, social distancing, and hygiene rules, he added.
Amid a nationwide fall in virus cases and an expedited inoculation drive, Turkey has entered a new normalization phase, lifting almost all virus-related restrictions.
But seeking to limit the spread of the virus’ Delta variant, it has suspended flights from Bangladesh, Brazil, South Africa, India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka.
Meanwhile, passengers from the UK, Iran, Egypt, and Singapore are required to have a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 72 hours prior.
Since December 2019, the pandemic has claimed over 3.98 million lives in 192 countries and regions, with nearly 184 million cases reported worldwide, according to the US’ Johns Hopkins University.
20 pct economic growth projected
Estimates for the second quarter indicate that Turkey’s gross domestic product (GDP) will grow at an annual rate of around 20% in 2021, Erdoğan said.
He said Turkey’s export volume rose 40% in the first six months of this year from the same period last year.
Turkey’s total exports are projected to climb above $200 billion by the end of 2021, a first in the country’s history, he added.
Erdoğan said Turkey boosted employment by 2.8 million since the start of the coronavirus outbreak in April 2020 by compensating for lost jobs.
“Direct support payments have surpassed 150 billion liras ($17.3 billion) since the start of the pandemic. We expect this amount to reach 3.5% of our GDP by the end of this year,” he said.
“We will not allow those who try to raise the prices of meat, milk, and grain due to the conditions of pandemic and drought,” he vowed.
Erdoğan said corporate income tax will be lowered to 20% starting in 2023.
“Fighting high inflation requires teamwork. Our Central Bank has a decisive approach to solve this,” he added.