Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has used the UN General Assembly platform to call for global action against US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen. The Turkish leader said Gulen's "terror network" should be dismantled by the global powers.
"I am calling, from this podium, to all our friends, to swiftly take the necessary measures against the Gulenist terrorist organisation for their own safety and the future of their nations," said Erdogan. "It is evident from our experience that if you do not fight the Gulen network at this stage, it may be too late later."
Turkey has been accusing Gulen, who is on a self-imposed exile, for the botched July 2016 coup but the cleric denies any involvement. The attempt to overthrow the Turkish government was followed by a bloody crackdown by Erdogan on suspected Gulen-linked entities operating in the country.
"I also would like to state that attributions such as Turkish, Turkey used by this terrorist organisation, all the other labels therein and the persons associated with them have no association with Turkey whatsoever. I take pride in my nation as my nation defeated this heinous coup attempt by risking their lives," added the Turkish president. "They showed a very noble stance. If I stand here today before you it is thanks to our nation's brave stance and noble stance."
Meanwhile, Erdogan has also used the opportunity to defend his actions in Syria including his decision to deploy ground troops. While calling on the world leaders to do more to resolve the Syrian conflict, Erdogan argued Turkish forces in Syria have helped restore "peace, balance and stability in a region taken over by hopelessness".
"We cannot lose more time to realise the political resolution process and end the root of the problem, which is the fighting in Syria," said Erdogan, a day after a deadly air strike on a humanitarian aid convoy in Aleppo.
Erdogan, who is opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime, sent his ground forces into Syria buttressed by US air support in August to fight the Islamic State (Isis) militants.