KAMPALA — President Yoweri Museveni and Turkish Ambassador to Uganda have discussed the threat of the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), a group behind the 2016 defeated coup in Turkey.
“I have spoken to his excellency Yoweri Museveni who clearly stated those who use weapons against civilians are terrorists,” Kerem Alp, Turkey’s ambassador to Uganda, told Anadolu Agency.
Alp said Turkey has a common understanding with Uganda that U.S.-based FETO leader Fetullah Gullen is a terrorist and his organization killed and injured many people in Turkey, as they attempted to over throw the government.
The diplomat said there were some FETO followers who had sought to hide in Uganda and were working in schools or hospitals.
“They have been disguising as humanitarian workers and even giving scholarships to Ugandans hiding their true identity,” he said, adding: “We have convinced Ugandan authorities about the true nature of this heinous organization and its followers.”
Closure of schools
In December last year, the ambassador noted, board members of Turkiye Maarif foundation — a Turkish education foundation created to manage FETO-run schools abroad — visited Uganda and held talks with Education MinisterJanet Museveni.
“We hope to establish Maarif Foundation in Uganda this year,” he added.
The diplomat further explained that his office was still in discussions with Ugandan authorities on how Maarif Foundation could assume the management of schools run by FETO as well as the management of FETO-affiliated hospitals by competent Turkish state organizations.
“We as the government of Turkey are providing alternatives to the Ugandan government on the existing infrastructure so that there is no vacuum left after FETO stop operating in Uganda,” he said.
Alp said once Maarif Foundation starts operating in Uganda, the quality of education in schools they run will increase and as the cost of education will decrease.
The diplomat also said the Turkish embassy is collaborating with Ugandan security officials in monitoring the businesses run by FETO members.
FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the failed coup in Turkey on July 15, 2016 which left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.
Turkey also accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.
The group which claims to run charities has a considerable presence abroad including in Africa, where it runs private schools and hospitals which serve as a revenue stream for the terror group.