Testimonies Pertaining to Fethullah Gulen’s Involvement in the 7/15 Coup Attempt
- Military Chief of Staff General Hulusi Akar told prosecutors that Brigadier General Hakan Evrim, one of his captors, offered him a phone call with Fethullah Gulen in the hope of changing Akar’s mind about the coup attempt.
- Lieutenant Colonel Levent Turkkan, General Akar’s aide de camp, told the prosecution that he was a member of Fethullah Gulen’s organization. Turkkan also confessed to taking orders from his ‘older brother’, i.e. his immediate superior within FETO, and stated that the communications of Gen. Necdet Ozel, Gen. Yasar Guler and Gen. Akar had been unlawfully recorded. In his statement, Turkkan said he learned about the coup on 14 July 2016. “There was absolute secrecy and discretion within the organization,” he added.
- Brigadier General Ozkan Aydogdu, who served as commander of the 2nd Armored Brigade stationed in Istanbul, said he marched tanks and troops to the city’s intercontinental bridges because “I have been raised to follow orders and I strive to fulfill orders. I followed an order which I believed to be legitimate.”
- Gursel Aktepe, a former deputy director of intelligence operations at the Turkish National Police, identified tens of undercover FETO operatives employed by the department of intelligence as part of a plea bargain with the prosecutor’s office.
- Kemal Isikli, a former expert at the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency, stated that he served as an ‘older brother’ within the FETO hierarchy and oversaw the special forces unit that raided the President’s hotel in Marmaris, Turkey during the coup attempt.
- Major Erhan Karlidag, a former head of the intelligence unit at the Gendarmerie’s provincial headquarters in Ankara, told the authorities that “FETO orchestrated the coup attempt. We received word that a list of 3,000 people had been compiled [by the authorities] and that we would be discharged at the Supreme Military Council meeting in August 2016.” He also identified the major who critically injured Turgut Arslan, the head of counter-terrorism at the Turkish National Police, and killed Arslan’s bodyguard as a FETO operative.
- Ebubekir Basel, a former judge at the Council of State, said he was recruited by FETO as a teenager and provided detailed information about the organization’s inner workings. “I was eventually appointed as an elder brother and assumed the role of regional imam under instructions to facilitate the admission of followers into military schools.
- Mustafa Kocyigit, a former specialist at the Prime Minister’s office, told prosecutors that he was recruited by Fethullah Gulen’s organization in college. “I attended a prep school operated by FETO. Upon being admitted into Ankara University’s School of Political Science and Public Administration, I was introduced to a FETO member called Selman, in whose home I picked the code name AKIF,” he said.
- Non-Commissioned Officer Oguz Haksal, who raided a social club during the coup attempt to take hostage Abidin Unal and eight other generals. As part of a plea bargain, he confessed to raiding the venue under instructions from FETO operative Yilmaz Bahar, also a non-commissioned officer.
- Former police chief Gursel Aktepe said it would have been impossible to carry out a coup d’etat without the knowledge and instructions from Fethullah Gulen himself. “We received messages via a messaging app called Tango,” he told prosecutors. “The message read: The coup is underway. Everybody should go out for support, stay close to their former workplaces and get in touch with General Mehmet.”
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As new evidence emerges, it becomes harder to deny the connections between Fethullah Gülen’s Hizmet and the failed overthrow of the Turkish government, argues Dani Rodrik.
Brookings Institution scholar Kemal Kirişci discusses next steps for the U.S. in the aftermath of Turkey’s failed coup in Order from Chaos. Namely, Washington should carry out a thorough investigation into the role of the Gülen Movement in the attempted overthrow of the Turkish government.
Writing in Politico, co-chair of the European Council on Foreign Relations and former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt asks: Where is the European response to the coup attempt in Turkey? Europe’s inertia in the face of a violent uprising against the Turkish government risks eroding the continent’s moral standing.