In his speech at the evening session of the 53rd annual convention of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, Kurtulmus said “FETO terror group is no different from PKK or Daesh terror groups” noting that Turkey was fighting all three simultaneously.
Attending one of the biggest Muslim gatherings in the U.S. alongside Justice and Development (AK) Party deputies Ravza Kavakci Kan and Sena Nur Demirci, the minister elaborated on what Turkish citizens experienced as a result of the failed July 15 coup led by a fraction in the Turkish military linked to FETO leader, U.S.-based Fetullah Gulen.
The minister said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s resilient courage before the coup plotters encouraged the Turkish people to stand against tanks and challenge the coup attempt.
He said although FETO was pretending to be a civil society organization focused on education and civic activities, it was secretively conducting terrorist activities.
"FETO is not only a threat for Turkey," Kurtulmus told the audience. "It is also a threat to many countries where it is strong."
Kurtulmus said that the government was clearing the state of FETO-linked terrorists, noting that all post-coup investigations were conducted within the scope of constitutional authority, underlining that Turkey was a country governed by the rule of law.
"The plotters wanted to divide the society but after July 15 we came together as a society,” he added. “The plotters wanted to overthrow the government and President Erdogan but both our government and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Turkish democracy is more powerful than ever.”
He called on the U.S. government not to prolong the process regarding the extradition of Gulen to Turkey, noting that Ankara’s NATO ally and strategic partner had an obligation to hand over the alleged coup leader.
“We have submitted all documents showing the link between coup plotters and Gulen to the American authorities,” he said. “The leader of FETO terror group should be detained until the federal court reaches a final decision about his extradition.”
The minister met several American Muslim leaders at the Zakat Foundation in Chicago, one of the main Muslim charity organization in the U.S.
He told the leaders that the aim of the July coup plotters was not only to overthrow the democratically elected government but also to drag the country into a civil war and make it vulnerable to foreign intervention.
Kurtulmus also visited Anadolu Agency stand at the convention center where nearly 600 organizations had stands to introduce their works and products.