About Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) -
House of Commons
Foreign Affairs Committee
The UK's relations with Turkey
Tenth Report of Session 2016–17
Report, together with formal minutes relating to the report
Ordered by the House of Commons to be printed 21 March 2017
Published on 25 March 2017
by authority of the House of Commons
Description as 'terrorists'
The Gülenists were first officially described in Turkey as a terrorist organisation in April 2015,(130) and the Turkish Interior Ministry listed Fethullah Gülen as one of Turkey's most wanted terrorists on 28 October 2015.(131) Turkey's National Security Council described the Gülenists as the "Fethullah Terrorist Organisation" ('FETÖ'), in May 2016, six weeks before the coup attempt.
The Gülenists nevertheless dispute whether their definition as terrorists has validity under Turkish law. They argue that, under Turkey's constitution, only the United Nations or Turkey's High Court can make terrorist designations, and that neither institution has designated the Gülenists as terrorists.(132) A Memorandum by the Council of Europe's Commissioner for Human Rights has also questioned the legal validity of the definition of the Gülenists as terrorists in Turkey, on procedural grounds.(133)
The Memorandum also said that "the Commissioner must also take note of the fact that this organisation's readiness to use violence, a sine qua non component of the definition of terrorism, had not become apparent to Turkish society at large until the coup attempt", thus calling into question the basis for the designation of the Gülenists as terrorists prior to the coup attempt. The Turkish government nevertheless maintains that the designation of the Gülenists as terrorists is both valid and essential
130 See, for example, Turkey: Seven Gulenists indicted on terrorism charges, Anadolu Agency, 9 April 2015
131 Put a Break on Terrorism at all Hands, Red List, accessed 13 March 2017
132 Peoples' Democratic Party TUR0036, para 65
133 Council of Europe, Commissioner for Human Rights, Memorandum on the human rights implications of the measures taken under the state of emergency in Turkey(October 2016), para 20: "Furthermore, it ['FETÖ'] has not yet been recognised as a terrorist organisation in a final judgment of the Turkish Court of Cassation which, according to the Turkish authorities, is a crucial legal act in the Turkish legal system when it comes to the designation of an organisation as terrorist."