ARMED Forces Chief Eduardo Año said Tuesday they were not considering the Fetullah Gullen movement as a terrorist group, contrary to the claims made by the Turkish Ambassador to Manila.
He made the statement even as the Turkish nationals in the Philippines who had been accused by their government of being terrorists on Tuesday insisted they were not.
Still, Malacañang said it will probe Turkish Ambassador Esra Cankorur’s revelations against them.
“Definitely, we’re not terrorists,” Bora Aslan, president of the Integrative Center for Alternative Development or ICAD Foundation, told reporters at the foundation’s Fountain International School beside the Flying V Arena in Greenhills, San Juan City.
ICAD and its sister group, the Pacific Dialogue Foundation led by Cihangir Arslan as president, together with their Filipino employees and partners have denied the terror tag placed against them by the Turkish government.
In a chance interview at the Palace, Año said they had not monitored anything unusual about the group accused by Ambassador Esra Cankorur to have branched out to the Philippines conducting terror activities.
“The Fetullah Gullen movement, we do not consider them as a terrorist group. Right now their activities here are helping the community,” Año said.
But he acknowledged that Cankorur might have other information that the military was not privy to.
“Maybe the Turkish Ambassador has a basis on why she said that,” Año said, but added they would rather not get entangled with Turkey’s internal matters.
“They had an attempted coup [before] and they believe this coup was staged or inspired by this Fetullah Gullen movement, but that is an internal affair of Turkey. We do not want to get entangled with that.”
Cankorur said the Fetullah Gullen Movement had affiliates in 50 countries including the Philippines.
She said the group was concealing themselves here through a school in Zamboanga that opened in 1997 and two other schools in Manila. The group also had foundations on the cultural side, she claimed.