FOREIGN Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said that the Philippines was checking information about the supposed presence of Turkish terrorists in the Philippines and the government appreciated the concern of the Turkish embassy.
“We are doing our own vetting or investigation together with agencies that have capability of doing that, so while the DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs) does its own investigation we also make full use of the military and police and the national security intelligence apparatus,” Cayetano told reporters in a briefing after attending the Philippines and Laos Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC).
Cayetano was reacting to a statement by Turkish Ambassador Esra Cankorur that the Fetullah Gulen, a group accused of being terrorist and responsible for the failed coup in Turkey, has reached the Philippines.
The ambassador also said the group was active in Mindanao, using civic education institution and charity organization as front.
“I know that the ambassador from Turkey will understand that we have to do our own vetting and investigation and we are very thankful to countries who are giving information but we have to do our own investigation,” Cayetano added.
The Turkish ambassador, in a press conference also on Thursday, described the Fetullah Gulen group as a very secretive and sinister organization and that was why it was considered very dangerous.
She added that the group and its members have been portraying itself as a religious movement, educational institution and even a charity group with a very different intention.
Cankorur noted that the group also has affiliated schools, business chamber and cultural pillar that have been actively operating in the Philippines.
“Like what we saw in Turkey last year, although they present themselves as a religious movement they were able to lunch a coup… So this is an indication of what they are capable of,” she added.
The Turkish ambassador was referring to the foiled coup in 2016 in Turkey led by a network of military officers of varying ranks who were affiliated with the Fetullah Gulen or FETO that killed 250 individuals and wounded more than 2000 others.
“It was not a traditional military coup, it was a group of people infiltrating into the Turkish armed forces,” she added.
Cankorur said the secretive nature of the organization made it very dangerous and that was why it was important for the Turkish embassy to inform people about it.