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Turkey warns of FETO returning to SL, urges continuing cooperation

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Turkish Ambassador in Colombo R. Demet Sekercioglu says the Fetullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) is likely seek return to Sri Lanka. The Turkish envoy in a statement issued to mark the fifth year commemoration of the FETO spearheaded coup attempt on July 15, 2016 said that their efforts to neutralise the threat had been largely successful.

 The Ambassador has said: “In the wake of these developments, we are pleased to note that our collective efforts with international partners have reached success to a greater extent and Sri Lanka is also among those countries. From the very beginning, Turkey has warned Sri Lankan authorities against the malicious activities of FETO, which was active through an affiliated school and some business organizations in this country. We are deeply appreciative for the support extended by the Sri Lankan authorities to eliminate FETO presence in Sri Lanka.

Reference was made to FETO during investigations into the Easter Sunday carnage with the previous government accused of turning a blind eye to its activities in spite of early warnings received from Turkey.

The Ambassador added: “As Turkey continues to intensify her operations all around the world, FETO members are feeling trapped more than ever and have been seeking a safe haven. At this juncture, it has gained much more importance to rigorously follow the activities of FETO affiliates in every corner of the world.

As FETO was active in Sri Lanka until recently, this beautiful island might be considered as an option by its members in the future, as well, if they could find a way to return. Therefore, Turkey will maintain her close cooperation with her Sri Lankan counterparts to prevent any possible attempt from FETO elements to take shelter in Sri Lanka. We strongly believe that as a country which has gained a unique victory against one of the most dangerous terrorist organisations, Sri Lanka will also continue to carry out surveillance on all suspicious terror elements including FETO members at present as well as in the future.”

The Turkish envoy said that the coup thwarted five years ago had been the bloodiest coup attempt and the most organised terrorist attack that Turkey had ever experienced. According to her, FETÖ used 74 tanks, 246 armoured vehicles, 03 ships, numerous weapons, 37 military helicopters and 35 military aircraft belonging to the Turkish Army to bomb the Turkish Grand National Assembly, the Presidential Complex, the Police headquarters and the National Intelligence Organisation’s premises.

“Today, on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the thwarted coup, we are commemorating the 251 martyrs who sacrificed their lives and over 2500 wounded, who fought fearlessly in unity and solidarity to save the Republic.

Despite the magnitude of the heinous attack, the victory gained on that night is just a clear reflection of the self-power of the Turkish people.

In order to effectively fight this terrorist organisation, it is important to understand what exactly FETÖ is, how it started, how it operates and of course its goals. Starting from the 1970s, FETO became known as a charity and education movement inside and outside of Turkey. Its ringleader, Fetullah Gülen, who is considered “Imam of the Universe” by his followers, gradually put his sinister plan into action. Members of FETO have been infiltrated into the critical positions of the military, police, judiciary, intelligence and other state institutions. Within time, this charity-oriented movement turned into a secretive criminal network and especially since 2013, its ultimate aim revealed: Taking control of Turkish state apparatus by toppling the democratic, secular and constitutional regime. In order to reach this demonical target, FETO did not abstain from using any illegal means possible. Document forgery, faked evidence, sham trials, illegal wiretapping, money laundering, illegal cash transfers, power abuse against those opposing the organization, blackmailing and intimidation were only some of those strategies used for this purpose. Once the new state order was successfully established in Turkey under the absolute rule of Fetullah Gülen, their ultimate objective was to replicate the same in other countries of the world.

It is also worth mentioning that FETÖ tries to gain the hearts and minds especially in the West by presenting itself as the representative of moderate Islam. It has also unfortunately succeeded into a certain extent. However, sermons of Fetullah Gülen, released in social media by his former followers clearly showed his radical views on non-Muslims, violence to be inflicted to women in total disharmony with both Islamic and modern values.

After FETÖ revealed its dark face, the Government of Turkey started to exert great efforts to completely eradicate its presence inside and outside of the country. Following intensive operations, FETO has now lost its controlling power in Turkey; however, it is still striving to survive in countries where it has established its presence. Due to its broad international network, FETO essentially poses a national threat. Considering its secretive and unique structure, FETO could cause immeasurable danger to all countries where it still remains active.

 In order to eliminate the international network of FETO, Turkey resolutely continues her cooperation with its international partners. So far, our official initiatives with other countries resulted in concrete outcomes, such as FETO’s declaration as a terrorist organization by several countries and organizations, closure of FETO affiliated schools and education centres in 40 countries, transfer of the schools to the Turkish Maarif Foundation in 20 countries. Over 110, out of 800 FETO members whose extradition were requested from 105 countries were handed over to the Turkish judiciary. Turkey has also called upon her international partners to freeze the assets of FETO members from the countries where they are residing.



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Hemas collect discarded carbon pens, toothbrushes from schools

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By ifham Nizam

Hemas Holdings PLC and the Environment Ministry yesterday came together to provide schools with containers to collect used plastic items such as ballpoint pens and toothbrushes. Hemas Holdings PLC, will supply the containers until April 2022.

The agreement was signed by Environment Minister Mahinda Amaraweera and Hemas Holdings PLC CEO Kasturi Chellaraja Wilson, Executive Director Shiromi Masakorala, Senior Manager Ishani Ranasinghe and Manager Mindika Tillekeratne were also present on the occasion.

Minister Amaraweera said it took 400-500 years for used ballpoint pens and tooth brushes to decompose. Amaraweera instructed officials not to spend any government money on the scheme.

The government school system alone discarded between 80-100 kilograms of used ballpoint pens a day. As with other public and private institutions, there was no accurate information on the ballpoint pens used and discarded by individuals, the Minister added. The Minister said that it had been estimated that at least one million toothbrushes were discarded daily.

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AZ vaccine delay baffles over 500,000 awaiting second shot 

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DGHS to be summoned by HRCSL  

 

By Shamindra Ferdinando 

The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) has decided to summon the Director General of Health Services (DGHS) Dr. Asela Gunawardena for failure to address HRCSL’s concerns pertaining to the ongoing Covid-19 vaccination programme. 

Dr. Jagath Balasuriya, Chairman, HRCSL, on May 28, in writing, requested Dr. Gunawardena to submit a comprehensive report on the vaccination programme by, or before, June 15. 

A senior spokesperson for the HRCSL yesterday (27) told The Island that Dr. Gunawardena would be summoned as the request made in terms of Human Rights Act of Sri Lanka Act No 21 of 1996 was not adhered to. 

The HRCSL consists of Dr. Jagath Balasuriya, Dr. M.H. Nimal Karunasiri, Dr. Vijitha Nanayakkara, Ms. Anusuya Shanmuganathan and H.K. Navaratne Weraduwa. 

DGHS is the senior officer in charge of Covid-19 inoculation drive. 

In HRCSL letter dated May 28 addressed to Dr. Gunawardena, one-time lawmaker Dr. Balasuriya said that clarification was sought after receiving representations as regarding the inoculation drive. 

Dr. Gunawardena didn’t answer his phone for us to clarify the issue at hand. 

Meanwhile, controversy surrounds the decision to suspend giving Pfizer as the second jab to those who had received Covishield (AstraZeneca). According to the health ministry, 2,171 Covishield recipients were given Pfizer on July 7 and further inoculation was suspended abruptly on July 8 claiming that sufficient stock of AstraZeneca would be available in the third week of July. The announcement was made by Deputy Director General Health Services, Dr. Hemantha Herath who declared the immediate suspension of Pfizer vaccines for recipients, who had got Covishield as their first dose. 

The Island yesterday sought an explanation from Dr. Herath as regards the inordinate delay in inoculation of those awaiting the second AstraZeneca jab. Dr. Herath said that administration of Pfizer was stopped on July 8 after the Health Ministry received an assurance from the WHO that 1.4 mn AztraZeneca stock would be available in the third week. Dr. Herath emphasized that if not for that assurance, the government wouldn’t have stopped using Pfizer. “Now, we are hopefully awaiting the delivery of the promised stock under Covax facility.” 

Dr. Herath said that the Health Ministry was in touch with the WHO in that regard. The Health Ministry spokesperson was responding to The Island query whether the issue at hand was taken up with the Japanese embassy.

The Japanese embassy in Colombo on July 13 announced that Japan would provide approximately 1.45 million doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine manufactured in Japan to Sri Lanka through the COVAX facility to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Sri Lanka. The embassy said that the vaccines were expected to be delivered during the coming weeks.  

Dr. Herath acknowledged that the sudden stopping of the well planned programme to vaccinate those who had received Covishield with Pfizer as the second dose somewhat derailed the operation. 

Responding to another query, Dr. Herath said that so far Sri Lanka had received 264,000 doses under the Covax project though the initial estimates indicated 4.5 mn doses in a quarter once the operation got underway.  

Dr. Herath emphasized that on the part of the health ministry and the government there was absolutely no effort to deceive those who received Covishield as first doze. Over 500,000 of those who had got Covishield first jab remained to be inoculated with the second AstraZeneca jab, Dr. Herath said, asserting that Sri Lanka was blessed with a functioning system to carry out the challenging task. “Unfortunately, we didn’t get the required supply of doses of Covishield as pledged by the WHO Dr. Herath said, assuring they would do whatever possible to inoculate those who had been deprived of Covishield second dose. 

Dr. Herath explained that disruption of the Covishield supply chain caused a major crisis here. The health ministry spokesman asserted that the unexplained long delay caused uncertainty and in a way undermined public confidence in the health sector.

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North and East to benefit from 1.6 mn Sinopharm doses donated by China

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President Gotabaya Rajapaksa with Chinese Ambassador in Colombo Qi Zhenhong (pic courtesy PMD)

China has donated another consignment of 1.6 million doses of the Sinopharm vaccine to Sri Lanka to fight the pandemic. Two SriLankan flights, UL869 and UL865, carrying the vaccine arrived at the Katunayake Bandaranaike International Airport at 5.30 a.m., yesterday (27).

Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka Qi Zhenhong officially handed over the vaccines to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the Presidential Secretariat, yesterday (27).

In addition to these vaccines, a stock of syringes has also been donated. The vaccines were handed over to the Ministry of Health to be given to people over the age of 30 years in the Northern and Eastern Provinces. 72% of the vaccines used in the vaccination process in Sri Lanka is Sinopharm.

President Rajapaksa said that he highly appreciated the support provided by the Chinese Government for the control of COVID – 19 by donating 600,000 doses of Sinopharm vaccines on March 31, 500,000 on May 26 and 1.6 million doses yesterday.

The President pointed out that by the end of August, all those over the age of 30 would be vaccinated and the tourism industry would be able to commence from September. “Therefore, the Chinese people are invited to visit Sri Lanka again”, the President said.

Ministers Pavithra Wanniarachchi and Douglas Devananda, Secretary to the President P.B. Jayasundera, Senior Advisor to President Mr. Lalith Weeratunga, Foreign Secretary Admiral Jayanath Colombage, and the Political Officer of the Chinese Embassy Luo Chong was also present on the occasion.

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