By Hassan Isilow
PRETORIA, South Africa (AA) - Turkish people living in Africa on Monday remembered martyrs who lost their lives during the July 15, 2016 defeated coup attempt, orchestrated by the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO).
"Today is an important day for us as Turks to remember and not to forget the unfortunate heinous coup attempt three years ago," Turkey’s Ambassador to South Africa, Elif Comoglu Ulgen said during commemoration events held in the capital Pretoria.
She addressed Turkish people living in the country and a group of South Africans who gathered at the embassy to show their solidarity with the Turkish government and its people.
"We remember the martyrs who lost their lives and those who were injured defending the Turkish democracy," She said.
Ulgen said Turkey celebrated July 15 across its foreign missions as both a day of mourning and a day of joy.
On the weekend, the Turkish embassy in Pretoria also hosted the screening of a documentary film produced by Turkish state-owned English news channel TRT World which shed light to the dark side of FETO.
Later on Monday, the Yunus Emre Institute will hold a panel of discussion on the failed coup and the dangers of FETO and their activities.
Kerem Alp, Turkey’s Ambassador to Uganda, said FETO lost its backbone in Turkey and was now trying to survive through its presence in other countries as schools and hospitals.
Alp urged the Ugandan government to cooperate with Turkey in eliminating the threat that FETO posed by closing schools and hospitals affiliated to the terror group.
Meanwhile, Turkish Ambassador to South Sudan Tugrul Biltekin said Turkish people who have stood against this horrific threat fervently and courageously demonstrated to the world that they did not recognize any power over their will and stood ready to sacrifice their lives to protect their state and democratic system.
Turkey marks July 15 as Democracy and National Unity Day. The day is commemorated with events honoring those who lost their lives beating back the putschists and in remembrance of the bravery of the nation.
FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup, which left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.
Ankara accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the legitimate state apparatus, through infiltrations into Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.
- Turkish volunteers in Kenya
In Kenya, 14 Turkish volunteer medical students arrived to offer free medical services across various hospitals as part of Democracy and National Unity Day.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) Coordinator Emre Yuksek said: "This program which has been running more than 4 years now is aiming not only to cultivate the spirit of voluntary work but also envisages to bring positive change and to train the future change makers in various professionals".
"This is part of the National Unity and Democracy Day activities in Kenya, we have partnered with local doctors from Nairobi and Garissa to conduct cataract surgeries, and provide treatment to patients suffering from eye related disorders".
* Andrew Wasike contributed to this report from Nairobi, Kenya