Fri, Dec 9, 2016 | updated 06:55 PM IST

Gulen's group threat as serious as al-Qaeda, ISIS: Turkish Prez tells Pak

Updated: Nov 18, 2016 11:55 IST

Islamabad [Pakistan], Nov. 18 (ANI): Comparing US-based religious cleric Fethullah Gulen's organisation to terror outfits al-Qaeda and ISIS, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told a joint sitting of Parliament that the organization could harm Pakistan if allowed to carry out its activities.

"I whole-heartedly believe that [Gulen's] organisation will be eliminated as soon as possible without harming brotherly Pakistan," said Erdogan.

"I would like to state once again that Fethullah Gulen's Terrorist Organisation (FETO) is a bloody terrorist organisation posing a threat not only to Turkey, but to all countries in which it operates," he said.

The Turkish President, who is on an official visit to the country, also appreciated Pakistan's recent decision to expel the staff of Pak-Turk schools, which are run by elements allegedly linked to Gulen, whom Ankara has blamed for the recent military coup in the country.

"I appreciate the recent decisions taken by the Pakistani government in this direction and I thank you for your strong support in our fight against Feto," said Erdogan.

Erdogan said that Turkey too was taking steps to curb the Gulen Network. The Turkish government has, since July, suspended, dismissed or detained at least 110,000 people, including soldiers, judges and teachers believed to be supporting the botched coup. The country has also further closed more than 130 media outlets and detained journalists and opposition lawmakers.

Western countries have accused Erdogan of using the coup as a pretext to stifle dissent at home.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) lawmakers boycotted the session to protest against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for his alleged corruption in the Panamagate. (ANI)