Meeting Nigerian president, Erdogan says fight against FETO helps not just Turkey, but also its friends in Africa.
Turkey’s president said on Thursday that he sees no difference between terrorists groups such as Daesh, the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) -- the group behind last year’s defeated coup attempt in Turkey -- and Boko Haram, a terrorist group that has plagued Nigeria.
At a joint press conference at the presidential complex in the capital Ankara alongside his visiting Nigerian counterpart Muhammadu Buhari, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, “I would like to express that there is no difference between FETO, Daesh, and Boko Haram, no matter what they serve or claim or their name – all of them are gangs of murderers who feed on the blood of innocents.”
Boko Haram, a Daesh-affiliated group based in northeastern Nigeria, has killed tens of thousands and displaced 2.3 million from their homes, according to Amnesty International and the UN, and was ranked the world's deadliest terror group by the 2015 Global Terrorism Index.
Erdogan reiterated that the fight against FETO is not just for Turkey, but helps Turkey’s friends as well.
He said: “Turkey and Nigeria have suffered the same fate on terrorism. Boko Haram terror has claimed the lives of thousands of innocent people and the oppressed in Nigeria. Some 1.5 million people have been displaced in the northeastern side due to this terror group.”
“We stand by our Nigerian friends on their fight against terrorism,” he said.
He said Turkey is ready to share its experience and give all kinds of support for combatting terrorism.
Erdogan also urged Nigeria to take steps on shutting down FETO-run schools in the country and to coordinate with Turkey to fight the terrorist group.
“We are very well aware that FETO institutions do not serve the people of the country but [instead] recruits militants for itself,” he added.
'Turkish businesspeople should explore Nigeria'
Also speaking to reporters, Buhari said, “There is a lot of potential for investment” in his country, adding that much has already been much done in the areas of education and healthcare services.
He also urged Turkish businesspeople to look into Nigeria’s potential.
FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup attempt of July 15, 2016, which left 250 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.
FETO also has a considerable global presence, including private educational institutions in Africa that serve as a revenue stream for the terrorist group.
Turkey is trying to take over all FETO-affiliated schools across Africa through its Maarif Foundation, including such schools in Nigeria.