President Erdoğan pledges to 'root out' FETO from Balkans


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pledged to eliminate the Balkans presence of FETO which orchestrated bloody July 15 coup attemp in 2016 in Turkey. He stressed in his speech in Novi Pazar, Serbia, during an official two-day visit that they would root out this traitorous gang called FETO from the Balkans.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan went on a joint walkabout with Serbian leader Aleksandar Vucic in the Muslim-majority city of Novi Pazar on Wednesday.

Amid meetings with local mayors and thousands of residents, Erdoğan appealed for unity in the region, highlighting historical Turkish links with the Sandzak area -- a territory with significant Ottoman heritage.

As part of his two-day visit to Serbia, Erdoğan arrived in Novi Pazar where he was welcomed by President Vucic and thousands of flag-waving citizens who had gathered in the center of the city.

Addressing the crowd, Erdoğan thanked Vucic for coming to Novi Pazar, and praised the city's support on the night of last year's defeated coup in Turkey when the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) attempted to overthrow the government.

"I believe that the people of Sandzak will continue to cooperate with the Turkish people in the fight against terrorism and we know how much Vucic is doing in the fight against the terrorists of FETO and we will kick out FETO from Turkey as well as from the Balkans.

"And, of course, I fully trust Vucic in that respect, because he was also one of the first to support us on the night of July 15. I thank him in front of all of you on behalf of all the citizens of Turkey," said Erdoğan.

Turkey's president on Wednesday pledged to eliminate the Balkans presence of the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group behind last year's defeated coup in Turkey.

"We will root out this traitorous gang called FETO from the Balkans as we have done in Turkey," Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said in Novi Pazar, Serbia, during an official two-day visit to that country.

Speaking alongside his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic, he mentioned Turkey's efforts against the FETO network in the wake of the July 15, 2016 defeated coup attempt.

FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the coup bid of July 15, 2016, which left 250 people martyred and some 2,200 injured.

Erdoğan also said Turkey and Serbia have entered a new era in bilateral relations, with new projects to enhance ties, adding that 16 agreements have been signed during his visit this week.

He also said that Turkey is willing to cooperate with Serbia in all areas.

Turkey also accuses FETO of a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.

Erdoğan also said a major highway project to link Belgrade and Sarajevo would be a road to prosperity and peace in the region. "All people of this region are our brothers. We want to have unity in Serbia as well as in other countries, and therefore we are ready for cooperation.

"Turkey will support all activities for the economic development of Sandzak and in this direction we will encourage our businessmen," he added.

Vucic told the Novi Pazar crowd his government would invest as much in the region as it did in the capital:

"Our job is to make roads, hospitals, schools and kindergartens.

"We will continue to work, and for us there is nothing more important than that. I know that here I will not be half as welcome as Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, but I have enough courage and clean conscience to come before you and tell you that I have worked and will do the best I can in your interest and in the interest of every citizen of Serbia, regardless of faith and ethnicity, and that's how I will continue," Vucic added.

Erdoğan together with Vucic plus Turkish and Serbian ministers also met mayors from other cities in the region.

Four deals were signed between Serbian municipalities and organizations on major restoration projects, such as the Ottoman-era Isa-bey Turkish bath in Novi Pazar. A new pre-school institution in Novi Pazar and protocols on cooperation to build a bridge and connecting roads in the center of the city was also agreed upon.

Erdoğan is expected to return Ankara later on Wednesday.

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