Kosovo, Serbia, Albania and Sweden ambassadors to Turkey recall night of defeated putsch attempt
The Turkish people put up a unique fight against coup plotters to protect their democracy and motherland following a historic call from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, foreign ambassadors in Ankara told Anadolu Agency.
The Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the coup attempt on July 15, 2016 which martyred 250 people and injured nearly 2,200 others.
Ahead of the first anniversary of the coup, the foreign diplomats expressed their views on the night of the defeated overthrow attempt.
Describing his feelings on the coup night, Avni Spahiu, ambassador of the Republic of Kosovo to Ankara, said that he “was captivated by bad thoughts. It reminded me of terror and persecution in the streets of Prishtina and Kosovo towns when terror and subjugation struck my country years ago.”
Spahiu said that he heard “some deafening jet noise” over his house.
He said that though the deafening noise of the jet was unusual, he did not pay any particular attention until he received an urgent call from his assistant informing him that on the Istanbul bridges something strange was happening.
“I soon realized with a feeling of repulsion and concern that a coup attempt was taking place. Gradually the concern was turning into repugnance of the kind I felt when Kosovo was being attacked by terror and persecution…”
He noted that the “courage and patriotism” of the Turkish people was being witnessed on the night as streets were beginning to be filled by “empty-handed” defiant people against the coup, following the historic call of Erdogan.
Spahiu underlined that the developments on that night showed that “democracy and freedom prevailed over evil and terror”.
“Turkey was saved thanks to the courage and determination of its people.”
Spahiu was among foreign ambassadors visited the Turkish parliament days after the defeated coup.
“What we saw inside the Parliament building devastated all of us. Debris and destruction from shells targeting the Grand National Assembly, the highest legislation Institution of Turkey, the heart of Turkish democracy. Shattered glass, melted metal pieces and fallen marble stones, bricks and plaster scattered all around made walking difficult,” he described.
“Turkish democracy was defended by the people in the street, in institutions, in big cities, in towns and in villages. They stood as one in defense of their country and freedom. It was so both admiring and impressive to see a display of feelings of patriotism and willingness to sacrifice to defend the values worth dying for: freedom and democracy,” said the ambassador.
Albanian Ambassador to Ankara Genti Gazheli -- who was in Tirana that night -- said he “was shocked at” the news of the coup attempt in Turkey.
He had also visited Turkish parliament -- which was bombed several times by the coup plotters.
Gazheli said he felt “really bad” after ‘looking at a destroyed part of the parliament’. He called the bombing on the Parliament as “an unjustified and barbaric act of terrorism”.
He noted that the popular demonstrations on the streets following a call by the Turkish President “were a meaningful and significant act of the people to protect the democracy”.
“The Turkish people with their momentous gallantry have set an unprecedented example for the defense of its democracy, rights and liberties on 15th July 2016.”
Serbia’s Ambassador to Ankara Danilo Vucetic also echoed his counterparts adding that the military’s activities that night “were a surprise for not only me but for everybody”.
He noted that Serbian authorities had followed the developments in Turkey carefully. “Because, Turkey is a very important country,” he said underlining that the country is situated in a “very sensitive region”.
“And it was evident that outcome of the crisis can have wide consequences in the international arena.”
The Serbian diplomat “was impressed” with the reaction of the Turkish people.
“Honestly it was impressive the way Turkish people defended democracy.”
“We were shaken by what we saw -- an affront to the Turkish republic and an unacceptable attack against the core democratic principles that we believe in,” Swedish Ambassador to Ankara Lars Wahlund told Anadolu Agency in his reaction on the coup.
“It was difficult for me to believe what I saw was being attempted because at the time I had been in Turkey for three years and no one, you know, thought a coup could be possible anymore.” he said.
In the light of the developments in Turkey, Wahlund quickly come back to Turkey from his vacation in Sweden.
He noted that the Swedish government had “firmly stood with the elected government of Turkey,” from the very beginning of the coup attempt.
“In the early hours of the coup attempt, our Foreign Minister Margot Wallström clearly and unequivocally condemned the coup attempt on Twitter, and our chargée d’affaires in Ankara, along with EU representatives, paid a visit to the Parliament to show our solidarity with Turkey.” he added.
“Soon after, I had a chance to visit the Parliament myself and I have to say that personally, it was not only utterly disheartening, but also offensive to witness the effects of such a brutal attack on the house of the people,” Whalund expressed his feelings following the visit.
On Turkish people’s reaction to the coup on that night, he said that their strong stance “reaffirmed our belief that coups should be, and were indeed, a thing of the past in Turkey.”
“On that night, ordinary citizens demonstrated their commitment to the principles of democratic governance; and it is our sincere wish that Turkish people remain vigilant in defense of their democracy,” he noted.