Armed Forces chief General Eduardo Año has confirmed that the movement linked to Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen is not labeled as a terror group.
Interviewed by reporters in Malacañang, Año said organizations in the Philippines linked to the Gulen movement have been helping people.
“Well, the Fethullah Gulen movement is—we do not consider that as a terrorist group. Right now, their activities here are helping the community,” he said.
The clarification was issued after Turkish Ambassador Esra Cankorur claimed that those groups work like sleeper cells.
“So probably iyong ambassador ng Turkey, may sarili siyang basis kung bakit niya sinabi iyan because—I think you know what happened in Turkey, there was an attempted coup and they believe this coup was staged or inspired by this Fethullah Gulen movement,” Año said.
“But that is an internal affair of Turkey. We do not want to be entangled with that,” he added.
Also on Tuesday, former Education Secretary and De La Salle Philippines president Bro. Armin Luisto and other religious groups expressed support to two non-government organizations being linked to terrorist organizations, noting the NGOs' track records in peace-building.
"I have never had any reason to link their operations here with alleged terror groups locally as this would seem totally in conflict with their on-going advocacies and programs on peace-building," Luistro said in a statement.
He was referring to Integrative Center for Alternative Development Foundation, Inc. (ICAD) and Pacific Dialogue Foundation, Inc. (PDF), which run the Filipino-Turkish Tolerance School in Zamboanga City and the Fountain International School in San Juan City, both of which were linked by Turkish Ambassador to the Philippines Esra Cankorur to the Fethullah Gulen Movement, a supposed terrorist organization.
ICAD and PDF earlier denied their alleged links to the terrorist organization. — Trisha Macas/RSJ, GMA News