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Philippines To Check Presence Of FETO

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Turkish ambassador says group which orchestrated defeated July 2016 coup has schools in Philippines

Philippines will investigate reports in the country about the presence of Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group Turkey blames for the defeated coup last July, its presidential office said Thursday.

"We will investigate organizations abetting or aiding terrorism and will hold them accountable, especially those that may be working as fronts for terrorist and criminal activities," local news outlet ABS-CBN quoted Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella as saying.

"We are also working closely with all other nations to combat terrorism. This is now a global threat that can be better addressed through a unified effort," he added.

The statement came after Turkish Ambassador to Philippines Esra Cankorur said on Wednesday that the group has been active in the country through a school in its third largest city Zamboanga and two other schools in capital Manila.

"This is their facade, thinking them as civic education institutions and innocent charity organizations. They talk about inter-faith dialogue, but they are concealing themselves," Cankorur told the news outlet.

Background check by Anadolu Agency revealed that one of the institutions referred to by Cankorur is the Filipino-Turkish Tolerance School which was founded in 1997 in Zamboanga. The school has been active in holding Math competitions and Turkish cultural shows as well as distributing beef during the Islamic Eid al-Adha festival.

Turkey blames FETO, led by U.S.-based Fetullah Gulen, of arranging last July’s coup attempt, which left 250 dead.

Since the coup, Turkey has arrested tens of thousands of suspected FETO supporters and dismissed more than 100,000 public servants from across the government.

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