Turkey says thanks for moving against dissidents
Costumed people with masks march across the medieval Charles Bridge as part of commemorations for the 27th anniversary of the so-called Velvet Revolution in Prague, Czech Republic, yesterday. ISLAMABAD (AP): TURKEY’S PRESIDENT praised Pakistan on Thursday for siding with him against alleged followers of a dissident cleric he blames for a failed coup earlier this year, a day after Pakistan ordered 400 Turkish nationals to leave the country.
“We will eliminate this terrorist organisation before it harms Pakistan,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a speech at Pakistan’s parliament before lawmakers, the prime minister and the military leadership.
Turkey has waged a widescale crackdown against followers of Fethullah Gulen, a selfexiled US-based cleric whose organisation runs a global network of charities, business groups, schools and hospitals, including a network of charter schools in the US. Turkey has arrested tens of thousands of people since July’s failed coup and dismissed more than 100,000 civil servants suspected of ties to Gulen.
Erdogan’s visit to Pakistan comes as Islamabad ordered 400 Turkish nationals, mostly schoolteachers and their families, to leave the country within 72 hours. They have petitioned a court against the move, and the students have held protests.
Those who face expulsion include staff at the PakTurk International Schools and Colleges and their families. Ankara accuses the chain of links to Gulen.