Turkish Embassy commemorates Democracy and Unity Day


July 17, 2018

By Ishmael Sallieu Koroma


Turkish residents in Sierra Lene flanked by Ambassador H.E. Deha Erpek during the second year commemoration  of the July 15,2016 coup attempt in Istanbul , Turkey

The Turkish Embassy in Sierra Leone on Sunday, July 15th commemorated ‘Democracy and Unity Day’ at the Maarif Turkish International Kindergarten & Primary School, Lumley, west of Freetown.

The commemoration of the day comes two years after Turkey thwarted a coup attempt in July 2016, in Istanbul.

Speaking at the ceremony, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Turkey to Sierra Leone, Deha Erpek, said they were commemorating the second anniversary of the failed coup in Turkey, adding that although security forces managed to protect their democracy, they are still struggling to overcome the trauma of existential threat to their country.

“The night of 15th July 2016 was a trial of will and resolution for our democracy. All the political parties, both in government and in opposition, the uninfected elements of the armed forces, police force and the media stood up against the putschists,” he said, adding that Turks displayed historic example of solidarity when they stood selflessly in front of military hardware of the plotters.

He said it was no secret that Fetullah Gulen and his disciples were responsible for the heinous coup attempt, adding that the group had been aspiring for decades to capture critical government institutions such as the police, judiciary and armed forces, as part of insidious efforts to reinstitute the regime in Turkey.

Ambassador Erpek revealed his government has started taking measures against those he referred to as terrorist organisations and their financial resources before the coup attempt, thus adding that pre-schools – the main recruitment centres and a major financial source for FETO – have been shut down.

“Thorough administrative and judicial investigations indicated that the organisation was involved in numerous criminal activities, large scale cheatings at the admission tests for public institutions, illegal wiretapping, money laundering operations etc. The police and the judiciary had also taken action to dismiss the members of the cultish organisation from their ranks,” he averred.

Ambassador Deha Erpek said it was impossible to find appropriate words to describe the brutality and treachery that the putschists displayed on the night of July 15th, adding that it was the worst act of terror in the history of the Republic of Turkey.

“The putschists bombed the parliaments, the presidential compound, the national intelligence headquarters and the special forces headquarters to break resistance. They attempted to assassinate the President and the Prime Minister. On that night, 250 Turks were martyred, more than 2,000 people were wounded,” he narrated.

The first Turkish diplomat to be stationed in the country said he enjoys good relationship with the people and government of Sierra Leone, revealing that the Turkish Embassy would always be opened to ensure bilateral relationship between the two countries are stronger.

He said in those critical times they were in need of support and encouragement from their friends, Sierra Leone was among countries to have shown solidarity with Turkey.