Turkish nationals resident in Nigeria have decried what they called an attempt by their country’sleadership to label them as terrorists over the July 15 coup.
This came as authorities of Nile University, based in Abuja, announced that it has admitted 80 Nigerian students studying in universitiesin Turkey but deportedto Nigeria as result of the coup.
The students were studying in institutions owned by Fetullah Movement, an organizations accused by Turkish authorities of masterminding the failed coup.
Briefing newsmen in Abuja, presidentof theAssociation of TurkishPeoplein Nigeria (ATPEN), Germel Yigit, alleged that the authorities of his country were clamping down on elements considered enemies hiding under the subterfuge of the last coup.
Yigit, who condemned the recent assassination of a Russian diplomatin Turkey, lamented that the government of Turkey was labeling people who are opposed to goings-on in Turkey as coup plotters.
He lamented that the murder of the Russian envoy was an indication that the situation in their country had grownworsesince last July’sfailed coup attempt against the government of Turkey.
The groupsaid it was opposed to any form of terrorist attackirrespective ofthe identity of the perpetratorsbecause,according to them, “a terrorist cannot be a Moslem and a Moslem cannot be a terrorist.”
He blamed the worsening security situation in Turkey on the refusal of the government in power touphold human rightsand abide by decent democratic principles.
Yigit decriedwhat he described as repressionof the citizensof Turkey by thegovernment of PresidentRecep Erdogan, stressing that freedom of speech had been muzzled with theclampdown on the mass media, intellectualsandprofessionals in that country.
He disclosed that so far, a total of 142 senior journalists were languishing in variousprisonsacross Turkey for holding views different from that of the government of the day.
He said that since July 15, 2016 when the failed coup took pace, 180 mediaoutlets have been shut down, 3,465 judgesand professionals dismissed from their jobs, anda total of 27,239 persons have been arrested bysecurity agencies in Turkey.
Yigit disclosed that themass crackdownonthe people by the Turksh government had become so intense that the normal prisons were filed, and the authorities have resorted to building concentration camps to detain people, a practice reminiscent ofAdolf Hitler’s era in Germany.
He blamed the unpopularity ofPresident Edorgan’sregime on his failure to keep his promises to the people.
According to Yigit, whenEdorgan came into power in 2002, hemade certain promises which garnered him huge popular support.These included a promise tomake Turkey a developed democracy and take Turkeyinto the European Union.
The peoplehad expected him to change the country’s constitution from the military-imposed one to a democratic one. But these promises failed tomaterialize.
Yigitclaimed that the Turkish government has been trying to labelits citizens in Nigeria as terrorists, stressing that thegrouphad lived in worked in Nigeria for about twenty years and its activities have never been connected to terrorism.
Thegovernment of Turkey, he claims,has been stigmatizing its citizens abroad and luring their hostcountiesto shut down their investments especially those that bear the Turksh name.
He said that many countries, especiallythose that are economically weak, have been offeredaid in various ways toensure that these Turkishcitizens were frustratedin foreign lands.