15 July 2016 Coup Attempt In Turkey And Feto In 13 Questions
1.What happened on 15/7 ?
On the evening of July 15th 2016, a clandestine faction led by Fethullah Gülen Terrorist Organization (FETO) within the Turkish Armed Forces attempted to stage a coup, which was also supported by non-military individuals and groups affiliated to Gülen. This was more than a treacherous plot: It was a terrorist campaign to overthrow the democratically elected government, the President and the constitutional order of Turkey.
The Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul was closed by tanks and unarmed protesters were shot and killed at the very same spot. Tanks rolled on the streets, running over people. Attack helicopters fired at civilians protesting the coup attempt. Fighter jets bombed the Parliament, the Presidential Palace and the police headquarters. An elite armed squad was sent to assassinate the elected president. The terrorist plotters also raided major media outlets be they private or state, either to force them to announce the messages of the coup plotters or to silence them.
It was the people of Turkey from all backgrounds and political views who thwarted the plot. They displayed a historic solidarity as they stood bravely in front of the tanks and reclaimed their democratic rights and freedoms.
The Turkish media also played a key role in foiling the coup attempt.
United together against this violent conspiracy, all political parties and Members of the Turkish Grand National Assembly stood firmly by democracy, legitimate democratic institutions and the Constitution. A Joint Declaration in defense of democracy was issued during the extraordinary meeting of the General Assembly on the 16th of July.
Yet 240 Turkish citizens lost their lives and more than 2000 were wounded in the defense of democracy.
2. What is the impact of the coup attempt on the Turkish society and politics?
Foiling of 15 July coup attempt by the Turkish people from all walks of life has been a milestone in Turkey’s democracy history.
Turkey is now united in a spirit that has not been witnessed since the foundation of the Republic.
This democratic resolve of the citizens of Turkey should be viewed as a guarantee by itself that they will never bow to authoritarian rule.
7 August anti-coup rally in Istanbul which gathered more than 3 million people from all political backgrounds was regarded as an historic and unprecedented milestone for the Turkish democracy.
The rally was unprecedented not only by the record number of participation. It was also the first political rally bringing together the President, the Prime Minister, and the leaders the main opposition parties. Moreover, for the first time in our history, the Chief of General Staff of the Turkish military addressed to millions of people, condemning the coup attempt and reiterating the commitment of the Turkish armed forces to democracy.
The rally demonstrated the staunch and united position of the Turkish people against the coup attempt. This was not a picture which the perpetrators of the failed coup attempt had expected. It also showed that the Turkish people and all the mainstream political parties are united in the conviction that Fetullah Gülen Terrorist Organization was the culprit of this foiled, despicable attempt.
We hope that the international community has heard loud and clear the messages given by millions of people and all major political parties in this rally.
Regretfully, western countries fail to grasp and portray the true nature and magnitude of the situation in Turkey and turn a blind eye to the sincere feelings of the people of Turkey.
3. Who was behind the coup attempt?
There is no doubt that Fethullah Gulen and his terrorist organization (FETO) was behind the bloody coup attempt in Turkey.
The coup attempt was led by a network of military officers of varying ranks who are affiliated with the Group and supported by non-military individuals and groups known to be affiliated to Gülen.
4. Are there any evidence that connects FETO to the coup attempt?
Yes there are plenty of solid evidence pointing to FETÖ as the culprit of the coup attempt.
Some of them can be summarized as follows:
-On the night of 15 July, as the coup was progressing, Gülenist officers leading the coup urged General Hulusi Akar, Chief of General Staff, to speak directly to Fethullah Gülen, hoping to persuade him to join them, according to General Akar.
-Infantry Lt. Col. Levent Türkkan was the aide of the Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar. On the eve of the coup plot, he was among those plotters who apprehended General Akar forcefully at the General Staff Headquarters.
After the coup was thwarted, Lt. Col. Türkkan was taken into detention. In his testimony, he has confessed his affiliation with the Fethullah Gülen group and explained in detail how the coup attempt was orchestrated. According to his testimony, he confessed being a member of the Gülen Movement since young age. He entered the military school in 1989. On the night of the entrance exams, certain individuals linked with this group gave him the answers to the test. He started following the orders of Gülenists after becoming the aid to the top military commander, such as wiretapping both the present and former Chiefs of Staff on a regular basis. He revealed the names of other Gülen-linked officers, including the Chief of the Cabinet who actively took part in the coup attempt. Türkkan claimed that he regretted participating in the coup when he saw on TV that the Grand National Assembly of Turkey was being bombed and civilians were being killed by junta troops.
-Brigadier General Fatih Celaleddin Sağır, commander of an infantry brigade in the city of Sivas, was on a list of people who the coup plotters planned to assign as martial law commanders, had the attempt been successful. Sağır confessed his connection to FETO during interrogation by prosecutors. According to his statements, Sağır said that he often attended meetings of Gülen followers, especially during the 1980s and 1990s, and had served "the movement" for 10 years.
-During operations countering the plot, Adil Öksüz, a professor of theology at Sakarya University was apprehended at the Akıncılar military air base in Ankara. He is known to be the one of the “imam”s of the group. This base was the center of plotters. The war planes that bombed various state buildings in Ankara throughout the night of 15/16 July took off from this base. Military commanders who refused to participate in the plot, including the Chief of General Staff, were taken forcibly to this base. There are concrete findings that on the night of 15 July, some police officials who were previously dismissed from the Turkish national police because of their affiliation with the Gülen group, actively participated in the coup attempt together with the military plotters. During the course of the coup attempt, there was intense communication between the military plotters and those police officers. Furthermore, during the coup attempt, several ex-police officers were seen on locations in proximity to critical locations such as the TRT (Turkish Radio and TV institution) and the Police Intelligence Headquarters in Ankara. One of them was captured. His telephone records revealed several WhatsApp correspondences between the Gülen group members, including orders to support the coup attempt.
-Gülen Aktepe was working as the deputy in the intelligence department of the Turkish Police and suspended of his duty in 2014. He was captured while trying to take over the National Police HQ with the army officers on the night of the failed coup. Aktepe said he received a message that read: "The coup has taken place. For assistance, everyone must go near to the places they used to previously work." Aktepe said the Gulenist movement gave him 4,500 TL (around $1400) every month after he was dismissed from his position as Ankara deputy police chief last year.
There were similar cases in Istanbul. Mithat Aynacı was a police chief in Istanbul until 2013, when he was dismissed for his role in the two Gülenist-linked investigations against several government officials and politicians. When tanks were heading to Istanbul police headquarters, Aynacı was found in one of the tanks. A video recording shows Aynacı, wearing a military officer uniform, entering the tank, and another one shows him forcefully pulled from the tank.
5. When Gülen Movement / FETO was established?
Fetullah Gülen is a preacher with no religious scholastic background, a graduate of primary school. He established his movement in early 1970’s.
Gülen initially built the ideological foundation of his movement on the teachings of Said Nursi, an Islamic Scholar, but later parted ways.
Even at those times, his approach was criticized by mainstream Islamic groups and scholars.
From 1974 onwards, Gülen formed his own network and sought strategic allies. He has transformed himself a leader of a cult, based on the belief that he was the Messiah, the awaited one.
One of Gülen’s main objectives was to protect his cult’s interests and his sphere of power at any cost.
That is the reason why he supported the 1980 military coup, and the military intervention of 28 February 1997 in Turkey.
After the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union, Gülen expanded his network in Caucasia, the Central Asia and the Balkans, and eventually established presence in around 160 countries across the world.
Starting from mid-1990s, Gülen began to present himself and his movement as an enlightened and pro-Western face of progressive, moderate Islam. However, this was just window dressing. In reality, he was leading a radical, secretive cult. He was presented to his followers as the chosen one, who speaks to Prophet Mohammed in his dreams, and as guided directly by the Prophet.
He actually left Turkey and moved to the US subsequent to a trial that charged him with attempting to topple the secular state in 1999.
Since then Gülen lives in Pennsylvania and runs, through clandestine networks, a huge empire consisting of educational institutions, companies, banks, media centers and civil society associations.
6. What is the organizational structure of FETO ?
FETO has a two-tiered organizational model and a strict hierarchy.
The first layer is the legal and visible side.
On appearance, F. Gülen heads a civil movement called “Hizmet “(Service).
Again on appearance, “Hizmet” is a moderate, tolerant, non-violent and pro-dialogue social movement.
The variety of associations in media, education, humanitarian work, printing and banking sector, business associations etc. were established first in Turkey and later in different parts of the world.
Under the guise of legitimate social service efforts, Gülen and his followers gained access to vast financial resources, human capital, political and social influence.
An example of global political reach of the Group, can be found in the reporting of the Times: “A Conservative MP, was paid more than 100.000 Pounds to author a report which focused almost exclusively on actions by the Turkish government against Gulen-linked organizations and brought about accusations against Turkey of violating human rights. The research was commissioned by the Journalists and Writers Foundation (JWF), one of the front organizations of FETO”.
Such vast wealth and influence have not been accumulated through legal conduct of business. It involved money laundering, bribing and operations through shady firms/holdings. It also involved destroying rivals through abusing state authority, which they acquired by infiltrating state structures, including the police, judiciary and finance.
The hierarchical ranks of the FETO are the so-called imam of the world, continental imam, country imam, region imam, province imam, district imam, neighborhood imam, house imam, head guides, students and congregational members. Fetullah Gülen is placed as the “Imam of the Universe/World” by the followers.
The clandestine side of FETO is organized in disparate, small and perplexing “cells”, especially in the army, judiciary and police. Each member of FETO in these high-profile institutions is permitted to communicate to only one small cell.
In order to minimize the risk of exposure, the wives and husbands of those people at critical positions are directly chosen by the organization. It is no wonder that, prior to the 15 July coup attempt, hundreds of Gülenist army officers “divorced” their wifes, apparently upon orders from the top.
The organization uses secretive methods for communication:
-Taking an oath that promises strict obedience and loyalty to the cult
- special encrypted communications, such as ByLock, Tango, Eagle
-using“one-dollar bill”s with special serial numbers in accordance with their rank, in order to show their allegiance with the organization
-Using code names in order not to reveal their identity
-Disseminating coded messages hidden in Gülen’s sermons and interviews
Those FETO members who broke their oaths are severely punished. They are not only cast out of the cult from which they benefit in many ways but also subjected to a lynching campaign socially, economically and psychologically.
In addition to harsh consequences of leaving the organization, FETO members are also financially rewarded to stay in the cult, through illegally gained assets, privileges, employment etc.
7. How did FETO infiltrated into Turkish State?
The FETO is a "sui generis" criminal organization. “Concealment” is the key tactic of Fetullah Gülen. The members of his cult are ordered to disguise their affiliation with Gülen.
Although they live a very pious life, they are permitted to violate religious codes in order to blend in with the mainstream majority in certain organizations they are asked to infiltrate.
Gülen supporters hide their identities and pose as leftist, rightist, liberal, secular, religious, pious, etc, according to prevailing circumstances.
This video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FwOU2sEQKjg)is one of the many examples in which Gülen instructs his followers to hide their real identities and to use any means to reach their goals. “You must move in the arteries of the system without anyone noticing your existence until you reach all the power centers… until the conditions are ripe, they [the followers] must continue like this… You must wait for the time when you are complete and conditions are ripe, until we can shoulder the entire world and carry it… You must wait until such time as you have gotten all the state power, until you have brought to your side all the power of the constitutional institutions in Turkey… Until that time, any step taken would be too early - like breaking an egg without waiting the full 40 days for it to hatch. It would be like killing the chick inside.”
During another sermon he said “the philosophy of our service is that we open a house somewhere and, with the patience of spider, we lay our web, to wait for people to get caught in the web…”
In fact, the members of FETO have infiltrated all critical state institutions in Turkey in particular the armed forces, police, intelligence, judiciary. etc.
The FETO then used this vast network, first through covert then recently overt action, to advance its anti-secular and perverted hidden agenda and to take over the Turkish state.
Senior government officials, businessmen, political party leaders, journalists, actors, heads of nongovernmental organizations have been targeted by the FETO when they refused to cooperate.
Some of these people were put in prison based on false accusations, or even killed. Through large scale court cases initiated by Gülenist police and prosecutors, hundreds of military officers were put in prison and expelled from the army on the basis of fabricated documents. Several court cases in Turkey revealed the dark underbelly of FETO.
Ahmet Zeki Üçok, a military prosecutor, carried out a comprehensive investigation into the Gülenists in the armed forces in 2009. He discovered a large secret network within the army. He identified many members of this unlawful organization by their names. However, he could not complete his investigation as he was detained on the grounds that he tortured certain witnesses by “hypnotizing” them and also as part of the Sledgehammer case (a court case which hundreds of Army officers were framed and sentenced through fabricated evidence) He spent almost five years in prison. Immediately after the botched coup attempt, he declared that the leaders of the coup matched perfectly the list that he had. Referring to the F-16s that bombed the Turkish parliament he recalled the words of now-retired Col. Selçuk Başyiğit: “We are now very strong. We have F-16s, F-4s that will take off with a single order of Fethullah Gülen.” Üçok’s findings were corroborated by many soldiers who fought against the coup attempt or by those soldiers who were the victims of the Sledgehammer case.
8. How does FETO brainwashes and indoctrinates young minds?
The educational establishments are the main recruitment grounds for FETO.
In addition, the so-called Light Houses [Işık Evleri] with 5-6 students each and dormitories are used to recruit and indoctrinate the new generation of FETO recruits.
In Turkey the target group are poor families. Abroad, mainly in Central Asia and Africa, influential families are targeted for these schools established by this cult.
FETO makes the following promises to recruit young minds into the organization:
-admission to leading universities (in reality through cheating in the higher education entrance examination system and entrance tests for the military schools by illegally providing the questions to the chosen students in advance.)
-secure a job upon graduation, (in reality through cheating in public personnel entrance test, and special entrance examinations of leading public institutions, armed forces academy and even that of the Turkish Foreign Ministry)
-rapid promotion in the state institutions, (in reality through destroying the carrier opportunities of other public servants who are not affiliated with them. For instance, it is now understood that in the last 6 years FETO -affiliated doctors in the military hospitals in Turkey discharged around 500 military pilots from service, by producing false reports indicating serious health issues. By so doing, they opened the way for Gülenist pilots’ promotion.
-In exchange, the followers would donate 10-20 percent of their future salaries back to FETO.
9.What measures did Turkey take after the coup attempt?
The Turkish nation has thwarted the most violent act of terror and treason against its democratic institutions on the night of 15/16 July. It is only natural for the Turkish State now take all necessary measures within the limits of its constitution in order to counter this terrorist group and to protect its democracy.
In order to fight effectively against the FETO terrorist organization which poses a grave threat to survival and security of our state through its clandestine infiltration to state mechanisms, the Council of Ministers of Turkey decided on 20 July 2016 that a nationwide state of emergency be declared as from July 21, 2016 for a period of ninety days.
State of Emergency is a measure permitted by the Turkish Constitution and regulated by relevant national legislation. It is also a practice permissible under international human rights law, including European Convention on Human Rights.
The purpose of the State of Emergency is to take required measures in the most speedy and effective manner in the fight against FETO terrorist organization in order to save our nation from this raving terror network as soon as possible.
Turkey is not the only country who resorted to declare State of Emergency in such circumstances. Many democratic countries did the same when facing similar or even against limited security threats. Legal remedies are available against all acts and measures to be taken within the context of the State of Emergency, including individual application to the Constitutional Court.
Supervision of the European Court of Human Rights continues.
The Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Mr. Jagland visited Turkey on 3-4 August 2016. He was briefed on the coup attempt, FETO connection and measures taken by the government. The
Secretary General said, there has been too little understanding in Europe about the challenges facing democracy and state institutions in Turkey after the outrageous coup attempt of 15 July. He underlined that he fully understood that Turkey needs to investigate and prosecute those people who were behind the coup attempt, but this must be done in line with the European Convention on Human Rights and the case law of the court in Strasbourg. He continued: “Turkey is very important to Europe, and Europe is very important to Turkey. We should do all we can to help Turkey deal with this very difficult situation in the best way possible.
Article 15 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) permits the Contracting Parties to take measures derogating from their obligations under the Convention, in extraordinary circumstances.
As clearly stated in the Convention, a derogation is not a suspension of rights. It may bring certain limitations to the exercise of permissible rights under required conditions.
In this context of the State of Emergency, Turkey also resorted to the right of derogation from the obligations in the Convention.
Many members of the Council of Europe have also made use of this flexibility allowed by the ECHR.
While taking the measures under Article 15, the States parties naturally continue to be subject to the supervision of the ECHR.
Turkey is fully aware of its obligations under international conventions and acts in full respect fordemocracy, human rights, the principle of rule of lawin this process and as always, due respect will be shown to fundamental rights and freedoms and the principle of supremacy of law will be strictly observed.
10.Why there are so many dismissals in the Public Sector?
FETÖ is a terrorist network that has infiltrated into state organs for the purpose of taking over the legitimate democratic regime and the constitutional order. It is urgently necessary to take prompt measures to remove from public institutions those who are considered to be a member of, or have relation, connection or contact with FETO.
Within this framework, the Decrees allow that public officials who are deemed to be members of or affiliated to or in contact with terrorist organizations be dismissed from public service. Accordingly, through the boards within their higher bodies, each public institution or organization is empowered to dismiss staff from office when their ties to terrorist organization have been found.
Yet, lawsuits may be filed with the competent courts against all kinds of acts and measures taken within the context of the Decree Law.
Legal remedies are available, including the right of individual application to the Constitutional Court. Moreover,a stay of execution against such measures can also be ruled once the state of emergency period is over, if the conditions still exist.
So far around 60.000 public employees were dismissed. This number represents approximately %6 of overall public servants of Turkey.
11. What are the scope of current investigations?
Public Prosecutors are investigating the severe crimes committed by the coup plotters on 15th July, as well as those who are linked to the FETO. However, these investigations are limited to those who supported the FETO terrorist organization during or before the coup plot.
The judicial process is continuing. Those found not guilty are released immediately.
In the face of the tragic events unfolded on 15th July, judicial authorities consider it worthwhile to prosecute any support to the bloody coup. There can be no exemption from the criminal investigations and the related measures.
The rule of law is guaranteed by our Constitution. Turkey is party to major international conventions on human rights, in particular the European Convention on Human Rights. Ongoing investigations and prosecutions are undertaken by the independent judiciary.
12. Were there any other criminal investigations against FETO before the coup attempt?
Yes. Indeed Fethullah Gülen is the "prime suspect" in 55 different criminal indictments based on a number of investigations launched before the coup attempt.
The probes into the activities of the FETO by Public Prosecutor’s Office have shown that under the banner of service, tolerance and humanitarian organizations, FETO and Fethullah Gülen have established and managed an illegal organization,
*exposing confidential information belonging to state for political or military espionage purposes,
*violating the confidentiality of private life,
*unlawful recording of personal information,
*forgery of official documents, fabricating crimes,
In 2002, Assoc. Prof. Necip Hablemitoğlu was killed in front of his house, while he was writing an investigative and critical book on Gülen.
Hablemitoğlu’s wife has long voiced the involvement of Gülenists in the murder of his husband citing previous death threats. The judicial process has been blocked many times by the Gülenist police officers and judges until recently. The investigation was reopened in 2014 and has made considerable progress since then.
The Turkish Court has found concrete evidences of the involvement of Gülen followers in the assassination of Hrant Dink, a well-known Turkish-Armenian journalist, in 2007. Colonel M. Demirkaya, one of the 15 July coup plotters arrested in the latest operations, is the key person in Dink’s killing.
The Group also used its adherents to launch judicial and administrative investigations based on forged evidence against certain people to discredit or force them to work with them. The involvement by the Gülenist judges and police during the Ergenekon, Balyoz (Sledgehammer) and other high profile cases are the main examples. In these cases, military officials, opposition MPs and journalists were accused of plotting a violent coup to oust the government. It later turned out that these cases were based on fabricated evidence, and that most such fabrications were produced by the Gülenists in the police.
Journalists who had written about the Gülen machinations in these trials endured slander campaigns and threats of arrests. Journalists
Barış Terkoğlu, Barış Pehlivan, Soner Yalçın, Nedim Şener and Ahmet Şık served time in prison because of their work that showed Gülen’s infiltration into the state. Şık was writing a book on Gülen’s presence in the police force, while Şener was investigating the links of Gülen’s disciples with the 2007 murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink.
In 2010 upon the orders from Fetullah Gülen, the exam questions and answer keys of the Public Personnel Selection Examination (KPSS) were stolen and handed out to the certain FETO members. The members with high scores were placed strategically in the critical state bodies.
13. Will the coup attempt affect the fight against terrorism?
The 15 July coup attempt was also an attack to the military-security capacity of Turkey, amidst Turkey’s efforts to fight against terrorism as before including the fight against the PKK and DEASH.
Resilience of the Turkish people averted the coup and Turkey continues to fight against terrorism as before. Turkey continues to deport foreign terrorist fighters, share and process intelligence on DEASH and are vigilant about the violent attempts of PKK.
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