By Hassan Isilow
The Turkish Embassy in South Africa on Sunday commemorated the lives of Turkish patriots who were martyred during the July 15, 2016 defeated coup.
"It was very unfortunate that in 2016, Turkish people had been thinking we were far from a military coup. I was in Ankara that day and I saw all the violence," Elif Comoglu Ulgen, Turkey’s ambassador to South Africa, told Anadolu Agency.
The Turkish community in South Africa, friends of Turkey, and local government officials attended the function to commemorate the martyrs.
The Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup, which left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.
FETO is reportedly present in more than 150 countries around the world, through schools, NGOs, lobbyists, media outlets, and other companies.
Asked about relations between Africa and Turkey, Ulgen said that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan “has already declared that Turkey should have representation in all African countries.”
Under Erdogan's leadership, Turkey has pursued a policy of an outreach to Africa based on the principle of win-win.
The ambassador added she was proud that the national flag carrier Turkish Airlines is connecting people across Africa.
Ulgen said relations between Turkey and South Africa are growing, with $2.5 billion in bilateral trade, which they hope will increase after Erdogan visits South Africa on July 27.
Erdogan will be in South Africa for a summit of BRICS -- a grouping of five countries including, Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.