GCC members designate FETO as terror group

Gulf states Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar reiterate their support for the Turkish government in a summit meeting.

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

GCC members express solidarity with Turkey at a summit in Riyadh on Oct. 13.

Gulf states on Thursday designated a network led by US-based cult leader Fethullah Gulen as a terrorist organisation at a summit in Riyadh that was also attended by Turkey.

Dubbed the Fethullahist Terror Organisation (FETO) by the Turkish authorities, the network has been blamed for a military coup attempt in July that almost toppled the Turkish government.

Turkey has long been calling on the international community to outlaw the network, which generates funds through schools, businesses and donations all over the world.

Since the coup attempt, Turkish authorities have increased their efforts to break the network’s vast web of control by identifying, investigating and prosecuting suspected members who have infiltrated state institutions including the army, the police force and the judiciary.

At the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit in Riyadh, the foreign ministers of member states Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar reiterated their support for the Turkish government in its crackdown on the network.

They also called for the adoption of new strategies aimed at fighting terrorism emanating from pseudo-religious cults, while condemning PKK terror attacks in Turkey, Anadolu Agency reported.

Turkey has experienced a spike in terror attacks particularly in the past year. The attacks have been carried out by a number of groups including Daesh, the far-left militant group DHKP-C, and the PKK as well as its affiliate organisation TAK.

Last month, the Turkish Army launched Operation Euphrates Shield to clear a stretch of land in northern Syria along Turkey’s border from Daesh.

Turkey has also conducted operations within its borders against the PKK and its Syrian branch YPG across the border since their umbrella organisation, the KCK, ended a two-year ceasefire with the Turkish state in July 2015.

Although the US sees the YPG as being separate to the PKK and considers the group as a key ally in the fight against Daesh, long-time US ally and anti-Daesh coalition member Turkey considers the PKK and the YPG to be the same organisation under different names.

TRTWorld, AA