FETO terror group's presence in Kosovo only issue adversely affecting ties, says Türkiye

Turkish foreign minister warns Pristina of the threat terror group poses to Kosovo's security.

FETO terror group's presence in Kosovo only issue adversely affecting ties, says Türkiye

Türkiye's foreign minister said on Sunday that the presence of the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) in Kosovo would adversely affect the bilateral ties between Pristina and Ankara.

“We can say that FETO is the only test. … We have no other concerns,” Mevlut Cavusoglu told a news conference in Kosovo's capital Pristina, his last stop on the Balkan tour.

FETO and its US-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016 in Türkiye, in which 251 people were killed and 2,734 injured.

Ankara accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions; particularly the military, police, and judiciary.

The presence of FETO in Kosovo has severely upset the Turkish people, and if it continues, it would have a negative impact on bilateral relations, said Cavusoglu, who was flanked by his Kosovar counterpart Donika Gervalla-Schwarz.

“Their (the terror group's) efforts to infiltrate state institutions continue in the same way. In other words, they are doing what they have done in Türkiye and other countries,” Cavusoglu said, citing the same strategy FETO has implemented in Kosovo.

“On the one hand, it continues to poison the youth (through educational institutions), while on the other, it increases investments in the media,” he said.

"Türkiye is saddened to see them (network) in friendly and brotherly Kosovo," the minister said, warning the host country of the threat to its security and future.

FETO's presence outside of Türkiye include private educational institutions that serve as a source of revenue for the terrorist organization.

Türkiye has strategic and cultural ties with Kosovo. In response to recent developments in the region, Cavusoglu said Türkiye will not allow the Western Balkans to return to the dark days of the 1990s.

“The latest developments in the region and the war in Ukraine have negative reflections on the region,” he said, adding: “There are lessons to be learnt.”

“We have witnessed an uptick in tension in the region. Türkiye has often stated that we will not allow this region to return to the dark days of the 1990s,” he vowed.

"As a country with good connections with all countries in the region and the ability to communicate with everyone, we will continue our efforts in this direction. We will bring diplomacy to the forefront,” he added, and noted: "Dialogue is therefore extremely important for lasting peace and stability in the region."

Prior to the news conference, Türkiye and Kosovo signed a civil aviation memorandum of understanding to increase the number of flights.

Cavusoglu is currently on a Balkan tour and has so far visited Serbia, North Macedonia, Croatia, and Kosovo.

Hüseyin Demir

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