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Palace: Military verifying presence of Turkish terrorists in PHL

The military is confirming if Turkish terrorists have indeed entered the Philippines, Malacañang said on Thursday.

“The military is verifying the statement of Turkish Ambassador Esra Cankorur regarding the presence of Turkish terrorists, particularly the [Fethullah] Gulen Movement, in the Philippines,” presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a statement.

“We will investigate organizations abetting or aiding terrorism and will hold them accountable, especially those that may be working as fronts for terrorist and criminal activities, as alleged by the Ambassador,” Abella said.

“We are also working closely with all other nations to combat terrorism. This is now a global threat that can be better addressed through a unified effort,” he added.

Cankorur in a television interview on Wednesday was referring to Turkish cleric Gulen in exile in the United States. He was blamed to be behind a coup attempt against Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan.

She added that the Turksish government considers the Gulen movement, also known to his followers as Hizmet, as a terrorist organization. Cankorur also mentioned that the movement’s fronts include civic education institutions and charity organizations, but stressed that these affiliations work like sleeper cells.

But Gulen has denied all accusations. In a Washington Post opinion piece he wrote in May, he called Hizmet a peaceful humanitarian movement. — Trisha Macas/RSJ/KVD, GMA News