“I can assure you from my first hand experience that the situation in Turkey is normal, quiet and everybody is going about doing their businesses. And in terms of security for our own citizens and for those who are visiting Turkey the situation is completely under control,” stressed H E Doğan, who returned to Muscat from a visit to his family in Istanbul only on Tuesday.
The Ambassador briefed a select group of journalists at the embassy in Muscat on a day when authorities in Turkey imposed a three-month state of emergency, strengthening powers to round up suspects accused of staging the failed military coup.
Emergency is ‘legal’
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared the state of emergency, Turkey's first in 14 years, shortly before midnight after a marathon meeting of his national security council, and it entered into force on Thursday when it was published in the official gazette.
“The state of emergency has been declared as per Article 120 of the Turkish constitution, so it’s a legal measure, which is intended to protect democracy, freedom and security in the entire country,” H E Doğan said explaining the rationale behind the decision.
“As you may be aware, a state of emergency has also been declared in France after the terrorist incidents which took place in that country. So, it is a measure which is implemented by all countries in case of extraordinary situation such as the ones we have experienced,” he further reasoned.
While the state of emergency has been declared for a three-month span, Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said on Thursday that it may only last up to 45 days. "We want to end the state of emergency as soon as possible," he said.
‘People thwarted the coup’
In Muscat, H E Doğan explained that Turkey could bring the situation under control very soon because the coup attempt was ‘thwarted by the people themselves’ and because ‘there was no public support whatsoever for these terrorist group (coup plotters)’.
“From the very beginning, the command chain and vast majority of the Turkish Armed Forces stood up against the coup attempt. It was merely some elements of the Air Forces, Gendarmerie and armoured units that joined the violent conspiracy. Both the police and public prosecutors immediately took necessary measures to foil the attempt,” the envoy elaborated
“Above all, it was the Turkish nation who thwarted the plot. They displayed a historic solidarity as they took to the streets and remained defiant. They stood bravely in front of the tanks and reclaimed their democratic rights,” he added.
H E Doğan also praised the Turkish media for playing a key role in subsiding the coup attempt. “The terrorists tried to broadcast their message by taking over studios of the state TV (TRT) and raiding private media outlets. Yet the plotters’ attempt to control media did not last long,” he said.
Emphasising how all political parties shed their differences to stand in solidarity against the audacious coup bid, H E Doğan said, “Throughout the process, all the political parties and members of the Turkish Grand National Assembly stood firmly by democracy, democratic politics, democratic institutions and the constitution. A joint declaration in defence of democracy was issued during the extraordinary meeting of the General Assembly on the 16th of July.”
Putting out the figures from the ongoing purge following the failed coup, the Turkish Ambassador said, “During the operations held against the terrorist group, more than 7,500 have been detained, and 218 of those have been arrested so far. These figures will change in time. Twenty four coup plotters are now identified as dead; 50 coup plotters [have been] captured wounded. The operations continue as more evidence unfolds from those who were captured and their victims.”
H E Doğan also confirmed that 246 Turkish citizens were killed in the coup bid, including 145 civilians, 60 police and three soldiers. More than 1,400 were wounded.
Hinting at the criticism of the ongoing purge in Turkey from its Western allies and NATO partners, the Ambassador said: “Despite all our efforts and very transparent media reporting, we are extremely frustrated by certain distorted comments and spinning by certain foreign politicians. While we hope to believe that these comments do not reflect the positions of the governments of our partners, obviously they are not helpful in our efforts.”
‘FETÖ is responsible’
The Turkish Ambassador also reiterated his government’s stand accusing the Fethullah Gülen Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) for the coup attempt. “We have solid proof that this coup attempt was staged by FETÖ. Our Government has been constantly exposing the real motives of this terrorist group and its leader, Fethullah Gülen, to all allies and partners. The failed coup is the latest criminal act revealing the danger posed by FETÖ. We call all our partners and allies to take all possible measures to prevent the activities of this group in their soil,” he proclaimed.
“Our President, Prime Minister, Government, Members of Turkish Grand National Assembly and the Turkish people all together defeated this coup attempt and stood by democracy and rule of law. The terrorists will be punished in accordance with the law,” H E Doğan concluded.