Turkey’s ambassador to Kyrgyzstan, Cengiz Kamil Fırat, walked out of an iftar dinner organized last week by the grand mufti of Kyrgyzstan after he noticed members of the Gülen movement in attendance.
In video footage that was widely shared on Turkish social media over the past few days, Fırat is seen leaving the premises while expressing his frustration at Kyrgyz officials over the participation of a certain Gülen sympathizer who he became aware of during the event.
“How could you make us sit down at the same table with terrorists?” he was seen exclaiming, reiterating a Turkish government stance to label the faith-based movement as a terrorist group.
“You either choose Turkey or the terrorists,” Fırat went on to say. “Here we have built a mosque that cost $35 million, and you make us sit with terrorists.”
Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Hami Aksoy released a statement on Monday, calling the presence of Gülenists “unacceptable.”
“We have persistently explained the threat posed by this terrorist organization to our counterparts in countries where FETÖ is present, on many occasions,” the statement read, using a derogative term coined by the Turkish government to describe the movement.
Turkey blames the Gülen movement for a failed coup in 2016. The movement and its US-based leader Fethullah Gülen have strongly denied any involvement in it.
The Evrensel newspaper revealed on Tuesday that the $35 million mosque that Fırat referred to in the video was built in 2018 by the Diyanet, the Turkish government agency responsible for religious affairs, and was publicized by the Diyanet as the biggest mosque in Central Asia.