New Turkish Ambassador Ayda Ünlü and Cambodian Justice Minister Ang Vong Vathana met on Monday, pledging to support each other to prevent revolutions and coups, with the Turkish diplomat saying Cambodia could help her country prevent similar incidents in the future.
Ünlü was referring to a coup attempt against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 2016 that saw a fierce backlash from Turkish authorities that resulted in tens of thousands of arrests – including of judges, journalists and rights workers – and has contributed to Erdogan cementing power. Cambodian officials, meanwhile, have accused the Cambodia National Rescue Party – the only viable competitor to the ruling Cambodian People’s Party – of mounting an alleged “colour revolution” to topple the government.
The party was dissolved in November, after party leader Kem Sokha was arrested in September on “treason” charges.
Justice Ministry spokesman Chin Malin said both sides spoke about cooperation in the areas of terrorism and “revolutions”.
“[Ünlü] raised the actual example about the failed coup in her country. So, this relationship is to make friendly countries cooperate with them to prevent such activities,” he said.
Following the alleged coup, the Turkish Embassy requested the Cambodian government shut down a Zaman school and university in the Kingdom. The Zaman schools – which have had a Cambodian presence for nearly 20 years – were founded by Atilla Yusef Guleker, a member of the Gulen Movement.
The movement is headed by exiled cleric and political figure Fethullah Gulen, who was blamed for the coup attempt.