MINSK, 15 July (BelTA) - A commemorative event was held in Minsk to mark the anniversary of the failed coup attempt in Türkiye on 15 July which is now observed as the Day of Democracy and National Unity. The event at the House of Friendship in Minsk was attended by diplomats and members of the public, BelTA has learned.
On the night of 15-16 July 2016, attacks were carried out against the parliament building, strategic facilities and infrastructure, an attempt was made to assassinate the president of Türkiye. As a result of the clashes, more than 250 people were killed, more than 2,000 were injured. In memory of the victims of those events, the Turkish Embassy in Belarus organizes commemorative events every year.
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Türkiye to Belarus Mustafa Ozcan said that the coup was attempted by supporters of the FETO terror group, who, among other things, had infiltrated the ranks of the Turkish army beforehand. "Their goal was to establish a radical fundamentalist government. The Turkish people heroically took to the streets to stop the rebels,” the ambassador said. “Our people came out to defend democracy at the cost of their own lives. The rebels were defeated because they did not foresee it and could not resist citizens of our country who took to the streets across Türkiye. Unfortunately, 251 citizens were killed, more than 2,000 of our compatriots were injured.”
"If the coup attempt had been successful, Türkiye would have been very different today. There would be no democracy left; fundamental rights and freedoms would be suspended indefinitely. Türkiye would fall under the control of extremists who would set up a puppet government that would act at the behest of several countries caring exclusively for themselves. There would be no independent Türkiye," Ambassador Mustafa Ozcan stressed.
He noted that there are members of the FETO group who, fleeing from justice, found refuge abroad or operated from another country from the start. "As you know, the leader of this terror organization Fethullah Gulen has lived in the United States for many years. For many years we have been requesting the extradition of Gulen from the United States and a number of other members of the organization from European countries. Unfortunately, these requests have fallen on deaf ears, although most of these countries are our allies. I leave it to you to assess the reasons for this. And I want to say with confidence that we will not stop prosecuting these traitors," the diplomat said.
Belarus is a very dear friend for Türkiye and has taken an unwavering position of solidarity, the ambassador said. Belarus was one of the first countries on the morning of 16 July 2016 to condemn the coup attempt and express support for Türkiye. Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko expressed support for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan while Belarusian Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makei expressed support for his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu. "We will never forget that support, we will always be grateful for it. Türkiye, in turn, attaches great importance to the stability, security, peace and well-being of Belarus," the ambassador assured.
Chairman of the Standing Commission on International Affairs of the House of Representatives Andrei Savinykh also spoke at the event. He said that back then he worked as the Ambassador of Belarus to Türkiye, and therefore witnessed those dramatic events firsthand. He felt what Turkish citizens experienced in those days and subsequent months. "Turkish citizens took to the streets on this dramatic and terrible night, following the voice of their hearts and duty. It struck me to the core that these people had no weapons and yet went to confront tanks and stopped them. They understood that those hours were crucial not only to their future, but also the future of their state," the parliamentarian said.