TRT World Research Centre’s event at Japan’s Sasakawa Peace Foundation highlighted the fact that FETÖ’s coup attempt last year has changed Turkish politics for good. The panellists stressed the importance of international cooperation in confronting terrorist organizations such as FETÖ and the PYD.

Changes in Turkey’s Domestic and Foreign Policy

18 July 2017 - 14:00 to 16:00

Tokyo, Japan

Akira Matsunaga, Deputy Director of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation
Dr. Mücahit Küçükyılmaz, Head of Corporate Communication at Presidential Office
Dr. Murat Yeşiltaş, Director of Security Studies at SETA

TRT World Research Centre held a panel at Japan’s Sasakawa Peace Foundation about/in regards to FETO’s coup attempt and its aftermath. Dr. Mücahit Küçükyılmaz, Head of Corporate Communication at Presidential Office and Dr. Murat Yeşiltaş, Director of Security Studies at SETA were among the speakers while Akira Matsunaga, Deputy Director of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation moderated the panel discussion.

Dr. Mücahit Küçükyılmaz talked about what actually happened during the night of July 15 emphasising the background, nature, and events leading to the coup attempt. He explained what FETO is, and how Fethullah Gulen himself masterminded the coup infiltrating to strategic state offices over the course of years. Küçükyılmaz said the organization had started as a religious cult, and thereafter started opening private schools across Turkey and all around the world. Money was being collected from people under the guise of donations. And as they grew bigger and stronger with the connections they made in government ranks which aided them in gaining financial power to fund their plans, their significant penetration took a whole new level when they ‘actually’ attempted to execute a coup, a military takeover, last year on July 15, 2016. Küçükyılmaz drew attention to FETO’s existence in many other countries including Japan and the possibility that FETO can repeat this scenario in different countries.

Murat Yeşiltaş, on the other hand, focused more on the consequences of July 15, emphasising the changes in Turkey’s domestic and foreign affairs. Yeşiltaş evaluated the situation in the Middle East and he further explained the consequences of the Arab Spring such as the decline of state sovereignty and the proliferation of non-state military actors such as ISIS, PKK and other terrorist organizations which in return influence the regional stability within a country. Yeşiltaş emphasized the urgent need for a consistent definition of the term “terrorist organization” as ISIS is generally considered a terrorist organization whereas PYD, a branch of PKK is not, even though they engage in same terrorist activities. “This conflict in perception and understanding of political players also causes instability in the region” said Yeşiltaş.