Since May 2016, the Gülen movement has been classified as a terrorist organization by Turkey under the assigned names Gülenist Terror Organisation (Fethullahçı Terör Örgütü; abbreviation: FETÖ) and Parallel State Structure (Paralel Devlet Yapılanması; abbreviation: PDY). After the failed coup attempt in 2016, the government of Turkey blamed the group for the coup attempt. Source
2 June 2020:
FETÖ’s coup mastermind wanted by Turkey, harbored by Germany in former military base
Turkish media outlets reported on Tuesday that Adil Öksüz, one of the most wanted men in Turkey, was sheltered by Germany. Öksüz, who is wanted for masterminding the July 15, 2016 coup attempt on behalf of the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) stayed in an old U.S. military barracks in Germany’s Heidelberg, Turkish broadcaster A Haber reported. Also used by NATO troops, the barracks were converted into a place for asylum seekers and Öksüz was there, along with other senior members of FETÖ who fled Turkey after the coup attempt was foiled. More than 120 members of the group reportedly stayed there.
Mark Twain Village next to Campbell Barracks were used as a shelter for Öksüz whose whereabouts have long been unknown. Öksüz was captured at a military base in the Turkish capital Ankara during the coup attempt but judges and prosecutors controversially released him one day later. He disappeared after traveling to his hometown in northwestern Turkey but multiple reports emerged that he was in Germany. Turkey has sought clarification on the matter from Berlin but Germany was silent except remarks by government that the issue was investigated.
Coincidentally, the place where Öksüz stayed is near Speyer, a city where Zekeriya Öz, a renowned prosecutor working for FETÖ, hid out for a while, raising Turkey’s suspicions that Germany is actively harboring members of the terrorist groups. Media reports say FETÖ members at large mostly reside in Germany’s Mannheim, Ludwigshafen, Speyer and Heidelberg.
Trial begins on Gulen movement’s 1st plot to topple Turkish government
A trial of 34 defendants accused of ensnaring Turkey’s intelligence chief in a conspiracy regarded as the first known plot to topple the government by the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) opened under tight security in Istanbul on Monday.
Dubbed the “MIT conspiracy” trial after the Turkish initials of the National Intelligence Directorate, the trial will delve into the group’s role in an attempt to detain MIT Director Hakan Fidan and others in 2012. The court in Silivri, where a high-security complex serving both as a prison and a courthouse campus on Istanbul’s European side, decided to close the trial to the press as it involved intelligence matters. Fourteen defendants in the case are in custody, while 15 others are still at large. Others were earlier released pending trial. The case has 32 plaintiffs, including Fidan, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and former ministers.
Prosecutors say it was “the first open attempt by FETÖ – whose ultimate purpose was to topple the government – against the government."
The indictment points out that the group sought to remove the head of the intelligence service through a sham investigation. Fidan and several other public officials were summoned to testify by FETÖ-linked prosecutors on Feb. 7, 2012, over allegations of MIT's ties to the terrorist group PKK. Later investigations revealed that the prosecutors and judges ultimately sought to arrest Fidan to trigger a crisis. Fidan did not go to the court to testify, upon the instructions of Erdoğan, who was prime minister at the time.
Prosecutors charged 34 suspects – including FETÖ leader Fetullah Gülen, the group's handlers for its infiltrators in the judiciary, law enforcement and MIT, former police chiefs and a journalist – with attempting to overthrow the government and running a terrorist group. The other charges in the case are obtaining confidential documents for political or military espionage and forgery of official documents. Overall, the charges carry prison terms from aggravated life imprisonment to sentences between 26 years and 53 years.
"It is clear that FETÖ engaged in a power struggle with the government and the first stage of its efforts for their ultimate goal (to topple the government) included the Ergenekon, Balyoz and Poyrazköy (trials), military espionage, the Tahşiye and Selam-Tevhid (cases), MIT trucks and the Dec. 17-25 cases," the indictment says, referring to a series of investigations and trials launched by FETÖ-linked prosecutors, police chiefs and judges.
All were found to be based on forged evidence and were attempts to stifle FETÖ's critics or imprison anyone the terrorist group viewed as an obstacle to their pursuit of gaining clout. The MIT plot sought to speed up this process, prosecutors say. "This is, as a matter of fact, FETÖ's first attempt to overthrow the elected government of the Republic of Turkey," the indictment says. By arresting Fidan, the plotters would eventually implicate the prime minister in the case and force him to resign, prosecutors say.
Istanbul's specially authorized prosecutors, Sadrettin Sarıkaya and Bilal Bayraktar, who were later revealed to be members of FETÖ, had issued a court summons for Fidan for his supposed collaboration with the PKK, a few months after a tape supposedly containing MIT's talks with the PKK surfaced. However, Fidan and the other public officials involved in the case did not cooperate with the prosecutor's orders after being instructed by the then-prime minister, President Erdoğan – who had planned to have surgery on the court day but postponed it due to the incident – not to follow the issued order.
At the time, the ruling government had harshly criticized the prosecutor's move, later dismissing him from the case. Sarıkaya later fled the country on Sept. 27, 2015, while under investigation as part of a FETÖ-linked case. He was caught in Istanbul two years later. Bayraktar remains at large. After the incident, a law was passed that stipulated MIT officials could only be investigated upon the permission of the prime minister.
FETÖ DEFAMED INTELLIGENCE
The indictment also sheds light on details of the conspiracy, including how FETÖ-linked judiciary members manipulated the case of plaintiff Mustafa Özer. Özer, who was later revealed to be employed by MIT, was a journalist who contacted top PKK members and worked as an informant for the intelligence agency. His house was searched upon the order of Bayraktar, and he was briefly detained. FETÖ-linked judges issued an order to wiretap his phone, and despite the secrecy on the case, his name and work were openly published on the website of Taraf, a now-defunct newspaper with intimate ties to FETÖ.
Prosecutors say FETÖ members sought to portray MIT as an organization collaborating with the PKK with the double purpose of defaming the government and removing top MIT executives to replace them with their own infiltrators. The terrorist group's infiltrators in the judiciary knew the prime minister was scheduled to have surgery and would, as a result, be unable to intervene in the process, deliberately choosing Feb. 7 as the date to summon Fidan and others.
Leaked audio recordings of talks between MIT officials and PKK members, known as the "Oslo talks," hit headlines shortly before the attempt to arrest Fidan. The talks were originally part of the government's efforts collectively known as the "reconciliation process," a bid to end PKK violence.
However, the leaked tapes ended up being fodder for anti-government propaganda, with FETÖ-linked media outlets claiming a collaboration between the PKK and the government. The indictment says hard drives containing audio recordings were "planted" by FETÖ-linked police officers at the offices of a political party with ties to the PKK and were "found" in a raid on the said place on Jan. 13, 2012.
The indictment traces back a plot to remove Fidan in his first days in the post and refers to "Israel's disappointment over the assignment of Fidan as the new head of the intelligence service," implying that FETÖ served the purposes of Israel.
Prosecutors say that the terrorist group, or rather its infiltrators in law enforcement and the judiciary, resorted to a series of crimes to build a case against Fidan and others, including arranging "secret" witnesses who were people fed up with false information issued by prosecutors concocting crimes.
About one year after the MIT incident, FETÖ used its members in the judiciary to open a corruption investigation into some members of the Cabinet. Prosecutors Zekeriya Öz and Celal Kara, now wanted for being members of FETÖ, created a list of names for prosecution, including Erdoğan's son Bilal Erdoğan. The aim was to establish a corruption link through Bilal Erdoğan with forged evidence that would then be linked to his father.
This attempt was also unsuccessful, as the police did not follow the prosecutor's orders. After this incident, which the government considered to be a breaking point, efforts to stop FETÖ members who had infiltrated nearly all government institutions intensified. Eventually, this led to FETÖ being listed as a national security threat after the recommendation of the National Security Council (MGK).
According to the indictment, two senior FETÖ members traveled to the U.S. before the plot against Fidan was put in motion and met with Gülen to discuss plans to ensnare Fidan and others in the conspiracy. Upon their return, they held talks in the capital Ankara with Ali Rıza Tekinkaya, a senior FETÖ member who conveyed the plans to members of law enforcement loyal to the terrorist group.
16 June 2020:
Turkey arrests 159 Gulen movement terror suspects
As many as 159 suspects were arrested Tuesday for alleged links to Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), which was behind the 2016 coup attempt in Turkey.
At least 112 suspects were held for having contacts with "covert imams,” or senior FETÖ members in charge of the group's secret members, by pay phone. Pay phones were one of the methods the group used to disguise contacts between its members. A Turkish intelligence report shows that the terrorist group turned to pay phones as early as 2009 to arrange meetings of its infiltrators and their handlers.
The suspects, including active-duty members of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), were arrested in an Izmir-based police operation launched across 56 provinces. In a separate Istanbul-based operation, Turkish security forces rounded up 44 suspects, including on-duty soldiers, security sources said.
Meanwhile, in the Black Sea province of Samsun, police arrested three suspects, including one on-duty soldier, who were accused of communicating with "covert imams" using pre-paid phone cards, the security sources said.
11 June 2020:
US consulate employee Topuz sentenced for aiding Gulen movement
A Turkish court on Thursday sentenced a member of staff from the U.S. Consulate-General in Istanbul, Metin Topuz, to eight years and nine months in prison for aiding and abetting the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ).
Topuz, a Turkish translator for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) at the consulate, was arrested in 2017 following FETÖ’s 2016 coup attempt.
He was charged with membership in the terrorist group, with the prosecutor having previously asked for a prison term of between seven to 15 years.
Prosecutors had earlier sought up to 35 years in prison for Topuz on charges of espionage and links to FETÖ. The indictment accuses Topuz of being in frequent contact with police chiefs and prosecutors wanted or jailed for membership in the group, including officers who spearheaded FETÖ’s first coup attempt in December 2013 that sought to implicate people close to the government on false corruption charges. Read the full artice
9 June 2020:
Arrest warrants out for Gulen movement terror suspects across Turkey
Turkish security authorities on Tuesday launched multiple operations in various provinces to arrest terror suspects affiliated with the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) which is behind the bloody failed coup attempt of 2016. Prosecutors issued arrest warrants for a total of 191 suspects, including 181 on-duty members of the Turkish air force, and security forces launched Izmir-based simultaneous operations in 22 provinces. Security sources also announced that 145 of the suspects were arrested.
Separately, prosecutors issued arrest warrants for a total of 44 suspects, including eight on-duty members of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), and security forces launched Istanbul-based simultaneous operations in eight provinces. Security sources said 33 of the suspects were arrested.
Prosecutors in the capital Ankara also issued arrest warrants for a total of 32 suspects, including 13 on-duty members of the Turkish air force. Security sources announced that 25 of the suspects were arrested in simultaneous operations in 14 provinces.
In another Ankara-based operation, prosecutors also issued arrest warrants for eight suspects, including an on-duty member of the Turkish Gendarmerie General Command (JGK).
68 arrested, including former police officers, in anti-Gulen movement operations
Security forces launched nationwide operations on Monday to capture members of the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) in the latest round of crackdowns against the group behind the 2016 coup attempt. In separate investigations, prosecutors ordered the detention for 167 suspects, and 68 were detained. The manhunt was underway for suspects at large. Along with civilians, the suspects include police officers and military officers.
In the southern city of Gaziantep, arrest warrants were issued for 33 suspects, and all were detained in Monday’s operations. Some 24 among them were serving police officers, while others were earlier dismissed from the force on suspicion of having ties with FETÖ.
Authorities in the western city of Balıkesir, meanwhile, ordered the arrest of 74 former police officers, including former police chiefs, associated with the terrorist group. Operations were launched in 13 provinces to capture the suspects. Read the full article
22 June 2020:
Turkey arrests 438 detainees in İzmir-based probes into military members in last 7 months
Turkish courts in the past half year have arrested 438 suspects out of 847 detainees who were taken into police custody in six separate investigations into the Gülen movement, which is accused of orchestrating a 2016 coup attempt despite its strong denial of any involvement.
The detentions were conducted between November and June, with the İzmir Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office’s issuance of detention warrants for 928 suspects, including 631 active duty military members, according to the state-run Anadolu news agency.
The other suspects include former soldiers and former military cadets. The prosecutors charged the suspects with membership in the movement, seeking their detention even though they did not participate in the abortive putsch.
16 June 2020:
Turkey orders detention of 174 active duty soldiers, 174 others in post-coup crackdown
Turkish prosecutors on Tuesday ordered the detention of 348 people as part of a post-coup crackdown targeting the faith-based Gülen movement, which is accused of orchestrating an abortive putsch in 2016 despite its strong denial of any involvement. The detention orders mainly targeted military members, with 174 of the suspects active duty soldiers and 107 retired soldiers and former military cadets.
The İzmir Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office ordered the detention of 167 people, according to the state-run Anadolu news agency. At least 100 of the suspects were detained in police raids in 56 provinces, the report indicated. Prosecutors in İstanbul and Çanakkale issued detention warrants for 114 active duty and retired military members over alleged Gülen links.
Since the coup attempt, nearly 20,000 soldiers have been dismissed from the Turkish Armed Forces, according to the defense ministry. Meanwhile, police in Ankara and Balıkesir raided residences following the issuance of detention warrants for 67 people who are accused of membership in the Gülen movement.
8 June 2020:
Arrest warrants out for FETÖ terror suspects across Turkey
Turkish security authorities on Tuesday launched multiple operations in various provinces to arrest terror suspects affiliated with the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) which is behind the bloody failed coup attempt of 2016.
Prosecutors issued arrest warrants for a total of 191 suspects, including 181 on-duty members of the Turkish air force, and security forces launched Izmir-based simultaneous operations in 22 provinces. Security sources also announced that 145 of the suspects were arrested.
Separately, prosecutors issued arrest warrants for a total of 44 suspects, including eight on-duty members of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), and security forces launched Istanbul-based simultaneous operations in eight provinces. Security sources said 33 of the suspects were arrested.
Prosecutors in the capital Ankara also issued arrest warrants for a total of 32 suspects, including 13 on-duty members of the Turkish air force. Security sources announced that 25 of the suspects were arrested in simultaneous operations in 14 provinces. In another Ankara-based operation, prosecutors also issued arrest warrants for eight suspects, including an on-duty member of the Turkish Gendarmerie General Command (JGK).
5 June 2020:
More than 100 arrested in nationwide FETÖ operations
Turkish police on Friday arrested at least 94 people for suspected ties to the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), the group behind the 2016 defeated coup attempt against the Turkish government.
Prosecutors in the Aegean province of Izmir issued warrants for 31 suspects accused of using ByLock, an encrypted messaging app developed and exclusively used by FETÖ members, according to authorities.
FETÖ, known for its secretive methods of communication, utilized everything from in-game chats in mobile games to payphones to convey messages between its members. ByLock is the most well-known app used by FETÖ members, and its use was discovered before the 2016 coup attempt.
The suspects were caught in 27 simultaneous operations across the city, authorities said, adding that a total of nearly $100,000 (nearly TL 677,000) was seized in various currencies, which was suspected to be used for funding the terrorist group.
Prosecutors in the capital Ankara issued arrest warrants for 37 other suspects in a similar probe. The authorities said suspects were arrested in early morning raids, with more than $40,000 seized in one of the suspects’ homes. The suspects are being charged with membership to an armed terrorist group.
Elsewhere, 26 suspects were arrested in the southern Mersin province. According to a statement by Mersin prosecutors, the suspects were arrested for being members of the civilian branch of the terrorist organization.
In the southeastern province of Diyarbakır, prosecutors also ordered the arrest of 18 active military personnel in a case regarding the terrorist group's infiltration into the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK). The authorities said 15 of the suspects were captured, and a manhunt was underway to find the remaining three.
The terrorist group is known for its widespread infiltration of the army, law enforcement, the judiciary and bureaucracy. In December 2013, its members in the police force and courts attempted to topple the government under the guise of a graft probe targeting government officials. It was the first time the terrorist group openly waged war against the government using its infiltrators.
When it failed, they made another attempt on July 15, 2016, employing infiltrators in the TSK to seize power by force. A total of 251 people were killed and nearly 2,200 others were injured in FETÖ's bloodiest attempt to date. What followed was a barrage of investigations against the terrorist group. Turkey lifted the state of emergency imposed after the coup attempt but three years on, operations continue against FETÖ.
3 June 2020:
13 arrested in operations against FETÖ in Turkey
Turkish security forces rounded up 13 suspects in operations in seven cities against the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) on Wednesday.
Prosecutors in the central city of Konya issued arrest warrants for 20 suspects including active-duty soldiers linked to the terrorist group behind the July 15, 2016 coup attempt. Suspects were part of a secret military network and were identified through their contacts with the terrorist group’s handlers through payphones. A manhunt is underway to capture the seven suspects.
The Defense Ministry announced on Wednesday that 4,562 soldiers were dismissed from the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) for their suspected links to FETÖ since a state of emergency, which was imposed after the putsch, was lifted in July 2018
2 June 2020:
77 arrested in operations against FETÖ’s network in Turkish military
In the first major operation against the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) in three months, authorities arrested 78 suspects on Tuesday. Police in 43 provinces launched operations to capture the suspects after prosecutors in Istanbul and the central province of Konya issued arrest warrants for 128 suspects.
Almost a daily occurrence before the COVID-19 pandemic made its foray into Turkey in March, operations against the group were scaled down during the outbreak. FETÖ is responsible for the July 15, 2016 coup attempt that killed 251 people and injured hundreds.
In Istanbul, the Chief Prosecutor’s Office said operations were launched in 35 provinces for 118 suspects including 98 active-duty soldiers. Seventy-two suspects were captured while operations were underway to arrest others. All suspects are accused of being part of the terrorist group’s secret network in the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK). Read the full article
31 May 2020:
Aide to commander of Turkey’s Aegean Army arrested over links to FETÖ terrorists
An aide of the commander of Turkey’s Aegean Army (Fourth Army) was arrested on Sunday. The major, identified only by his initials F.Ö., was arrested over links to the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ). He had earlier been detained in the western province of Izmir.
According to information provided by security sources, it was determined that F.Ö. was communicating with high-ranking members of the terrorist group via payphones. The investigation was coordinated by the Izmir Chief Public Prosecutor's Office and National Intelligence Organization (MIT).
F.Ö., who was actively serving under the leadership of Aegean Army Commander Lt. Gen. Ali Sivri, contacted FETÖ suspect L.Ç., who was charged with being a leader of an armed terrorist group.
22 May 2020:
Turkish military has purged 19,495 members since 2016 coup attempt
A total of 19,495 military members have been purged from the Turkish Armed Forces since a failed 2016 coup, the defense ministry said on Friday, according to the Turkish media. Turkey accuses the faith-based Gülen movement of orchestrating the abortive putsch, although it strongly denies any involvement.
The dismissals from the military are mainly executed over alleged ties to the movement. The Turkish government has purged some 130,000 civil servants since the coup attempt.
20 April 2020:
Ministry says more than 5,000 TSK members under investigation over Gülen links
The Turkish Defense Ministry has announced that there are ongoing investigations into 5,034 members and staff of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) over their alleged links to the Gülen movement, which is accused by the government of masterminding a failed coup in July 2016, according to local media reports.
The Turkish government accuses the Gülen movement of masterminding a failed coup on July 15, 2016 and labels it a “terrorist organization,” although the movement strongly denies involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.
According to information from the ministry, a total of 19,397 members of the armed forces, including officers and civilian personnel, have been discharged due to Gülen links since the failed coup.
Following the coup attempt, the government launched a massive crackdown on followers of the Gülen movement under the pretext of an anti-coup fight, as a result of which more than 150,000 people were removed from state jobs while in excess of 30,000 others were jailed and some 600,000 people have been investigated on allegations of terrorism.
6 April 2020:
Turkish military has dismissed more than 19,000 members over Gülen links since coup attempt
The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) has since a coup attempt in 2016 dismissed 19,203 of its members due to alleged ties to the faith-based Gülen movement, which is accused of orchestrating the abortive putsch despite its strong denial of any involvement, according to a statement issued on Sunday.
The statement added that administrative investigations are pending for 5,035 military members.
On the pretext of an anti-coup fight, more than 130,000 people were removed from state jobs while in excess of 30,000 others are still in jail and some 600,000 people have been investigated on allegations of terrorism.
13 March 2020:
9 suspects nabbed in operations against FETÖ in Konya, 5 other cities
The Chief Prosecutor’s Office in the central city of Konya on Friday issued arrest warrants for 16 suspects linked to the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ). Nine suspects were captured in operations in Konya and 5 other cities while a manhunt is underway to capture the remaining suspects.
The suspects are alleged to have been in contact with handlers for FETÖ's military infiltrators. The Prosecutor’s Office said handlers identified in another investigation had been in contact with the suspects via pay phones.
11 March 2020:
11 suspects captured in operations against FETÖ in Turkey
Ankara police detained 11 out of 15 suspects wanted in connection with an investigation into the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) on Wednesday. The Chief Prosecutor’s Office in the Turkish capital issued arrest warrants for the suspects on charges of membership in a terrorist group and financing terrorism.
Seven of the suspects were users of the Bylock app, while one suspect was a teacher who was suspended earlier on suspicion of affiliation with the group. ByLock was discovered during criminal inquiries into the terrorist group whose criminal activities have been under the spotlight since two coup attempts in 2013. The National Intelligence Organization (MİT) uncovered the messaging app, apparently programmed or modified for exclusive use by the group's members, by an insider linked to FETÖ.
4 March 2020:
40 FETÖ-linked terror suspects arrested in Turkey
Turkish police on Wednesday arrested 40 people for their alleged links to Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), which was behind the 2016 defeated coup attempt. In a statement, Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor's Office said arrest warrants were issued for 23 former police personnel and one civilian, who was dismissed from a public office.
In Ankara-based operations, 18 FETÖ-linked terror suspects were arrested. A search for remaining suspects continued.
Meanwhile, police also launched simultaneous operations in six provinces as part of a northwestern Bolu-based probe into the terror group’s "covert imams," or handlers for the group's secret members. According to security sources, seven suspects were arrested in the provinces of Bolu, Antalya, Sakarya, Ankara, Konya and Istanbul.
3 March 2020:
12 Gulen movement suspects arrested in Antalya
Police in the southern province of Antalya captured 12 suspects linked to Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) on Tuesday. Suspects had outstanding arrest warrants for “membership in a terrorist group.” Police raided several locations in the Mediterranean province used as safe houses by the group’s members. Two captured suspects were wanted in investigations in other cities.
4 March 2020:
Turkey orders detention of 115 suspects as part of post-coup Gülen crackdown
Turkish prosecutors in İzmir, Adana and Bolu have ordered the detention of 115 suspects as part of a large-scale crackdown targeting followers of the Gülen movement, which is accused of orchestrating a 2016 coup attempt despite its strong denial of any involvement.
The state-run Anadolu news agency reported that İzmir prosecutors on Wednesday issued detention warrants for 31 people over Gülen links. The chief public prosecutor’s office said the suspects are accused of rigging a police entrance exam in 2009.
Teachers, businessmen and lawyers were among the suspects in addition to former police officers.İzmir police, meanwhile, detained 53 suspects as part of Gülen-linked investigations. In Adana and Bolu provinces, a total of 31 suspects were sought by prosecutors in Gülen-related probes. Twenty-two of the suspects in Adana were former police officers.
28 February 2020:
101 arrested in anti-FETÖ operations
Police in the capital Ankara arrested 101 suspects in two separate operations against the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) on Friday. The operations targeted FETÖ infiltrators at universities and those involved in fraud at an exam required for employment of candidates to work at the Foreign Ministry.
The terrorist group, which was behind a 2016 coup attempt, faces operations almost on a daily basis. On Friday, police sought the arrest of 121 people involved in stealing questions and answers for exams in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 for consular duties and to be civil servants at the Foreign Ministry. Forty-four suspects were arrested and operations were underway to capture the others.
In another operation against FETÖ’s network of infiltrators at universities, authorities issued arrest warrants for 66 suspects and police captured 57 among them.
21 February 2020:
Latest figures show 26,862 people in jail over Gülen links
According to the latest figures, 26,862 people are in jail due to links to the Gülen movement, which is accused of orchestrating a 2016 coup attempt despite its strong denial of any involvement. Officials from Turkey’s Justice Ministry told BBC Turkish service that as of Feb. 19 nearly 5,000 of them had been sentenced to prison, while the remainder are in pretrial detention.
Meanwhile, prosecutors are pursuing 69,701 investigations in which 135,708 suspects are accused of membership in the movement. In addition 42,717 trials are pending that involve 60,167 defendants accused of Gülen links.
Mass detentions in ongoing investigations are continuing on a nearly daily basis with hundreds of people detained last week, according to the report.
As part of a global crackdown targeting Gülen followers, Turkey has requested the extradition of 750 people from 101 countries, the ministry said, adding that various countries have already denied requests for 74 of them. The ministry has also applied to Interpol for the issuance of red notices for 555 suspec
Indictment by Turkish prosecutors reveals Gulen movement's suspect's intimate ties with CIA
23 January 2020:
Enver Altaylı, a former staff member of Turkey's National Intelligence Presidency (MİT) was recently indicted in a case over his links to the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ). The damning indictment against Altaylı, who was detained in 2017, discloses his close ties with several members of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) as well as prominent members of the terrorist group.
FETÖ was behind the July 15, 2016 coup attempt in Turkey that killed 251 people. Altaylı was among thousands of suspects detained following the attempt by the terrorist group's military infiltrators. He and three others, including his son-in-law, face accusations of running a terrorist group and membership of a terrorist group stemming from their links to FETÖ. The indictment by the chief prosecutor's office in the capital Ankara also accuses them of political and military espionage.
Mehmet Barıner, another former MİT official, is also a suspect in the case. Altaylı and his son-in-law Metin Can Yılmaz are accused of trying to smuggle Barıner abroad after he was dismissed from his post following the coup attempt on suspicion of FETÖ affiliation.
Authorities found a trove of evidence while searching Altaylı's residence and computers, including his correspondence with CIA officials, reports on "how to create an environment feasible for a military coup in Turkey" and "strategies" for FETÖ members in case of a successful coup attempt. Altaylı's phone records also show his contacts with fugitive and jailed FETÖ members, including Mümtazer Türköne and Erkam Tufan, and an application commonly used for communication by FETÖ members.
Letters addressed to Fetullah Gülen, leader of FETÖ, were also found in Altaylı's computer. One letter urged Gülen to use his infiltrators' clout in Turkey to stop Kaşif Kozinoğlu, an MİT official who died in prison in 2011 after he was imprisoned as part of the notorious Ergenekon trials, which later turned out to be concocted by FETÖ-linked prosecutors, judges and police officers to imprison FETÖ's critics.
An interesting email draft was also discovered in Altaylı's cellphone. Dated Oct. 3, 2016, the draft was addressed to a "Mr. Gen. Flynn" – most possibly Michael Flynn, a former national security adviser to U.S. President Donald Trump. Altaylı says he faced "dismissal" in Turkey for opposing Russian policies, and he would "continue his task" in Belfast.
The indictment says Altaylı had contacts with a number of CIA officials and corresponded with them on social and political developments in Turkey and presented them reports on "critical developments about Turkey."
Altaylı also had intimate ties with Rasim Bölücek, a former adviser to Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, head of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). Bölücek and Altaylı made 1,159 phone calls to each other, according to the indictment.
Dozens sentenced to jail in FETÖ wiretapping trial
22 January 2020:
Some 131 Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) suspects were handed down jail sentences Wednesday ranging from three to 45 years for illegally wiretapping high profile targets, including politicians, journalists and business people.
The 4th High Criminal court in the capital Ankara sentenced 126 of the 211 defendants to three years and nine months for "membership of an armed terrorist organization," while 105 of the same defendants were handed down an additional term of four years six months for "forgery of legal documents."
The court went on further to issue sentences to 92 of the defendants, increasing their jail time by seven years and six months for "illegal wiretapping."
Former police intelligence chief Ramazan Akyürek, the most high-profile suspect in the case, was sentenced to a total of 45 years in prison, while former deputy director Gürsel Aktepe was handed down a 27-year sentence.
Former chiefs of police Yurt Atayün and Ali Fuat Yılmazer were each sentenced to seven years six months in prison.
Meanwhile, the court decided to acquit 37 of the suspects while separating the cases of 43 others, including a number of individuals being tried in absentia, having evaded justice.
According to the indictment, the wiretapped targets included President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's chief adviser Yalçın Topçu, former ministers Koray Aydın, Abdullatif Şener and Namık Kemal Zeybek, former general Hurşit Tolon, businesspeople Ali Koç, Vuslat Sabancı, Nihat Özdemir, and dozens of journalists and several lawmakers.
The prosecutors said FETÖ suspects wiretapped government officials and encrypted phones to infiltrate state institutions in order to overthrow the democratically elected government.
19 January 2020:
36 Gulen movement -linked terror suspects arrested
The police arrested 36 suspects after prosecutors issued arrest warrants for 55 people, including 35 active-duty soldiers, as part of an investigation into the terror group's secret structure in the Turkish Armed Forces, said sources who asked not to be identified due to restrictions on speaking to the media.
Security forces continue to search for the remaining suspects following Istanbul-based simultaneous operations across 26 provinces.
FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen are accused of orchestrating the defeated coup of July 15, 2016 which left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.
180 Gulen movement terror suspects nabbed across Turkey
Turkey on Tuesday arrested 180 suspected members of the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group behind the 2016 defeated coup, said security sources.
Fifty of the detainees are part of a group of 71 FETO members who infiltrated the Justice Ministry sought by warrants in a 15-city operation ordered by prosecutors in the capital Ankara, said the sources, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.
Also, as part of a probe based in the Aegean province of Izmir against FETO infiltration of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), 101 of 157 suspects, including active-duty personnel, were captured by security authorities. Additionally, 29 other suspects were arrested in Ankara as part of an operation investigating the terror group’s infiltration of the Turkish Land Forces Command.
Security authorities also issued arrest warrants for 467 other suspects believed to have illegally obtained 2009 police promotion exam questions. Prosecutors accuse the terror group of stealing exam questions to help FETO members infiltrate state organizations.
Turkey police arrest 123 Gulen movement terror suspects
Turkish police arrested 123 out of 157 suspects Tuesday for alleged links to the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group that orchestrated the defeated coup in Turkey in 2016, security sources said.
“Turkish prosecutors in Izmir province on Turkey’s Aegean coast issued arrest warrants for 101 on-duty sergeants and 56 former soldiers who either retired, resigned or were expelled,” said sources who asked not to be identified due to restrictions on speaking to the media.
The warrants were issued after the suspects were found to have communicated with members of the terror group by payphone. Thirty-four suspects remain at large.
Izmir-based anti-terror operations against the terror group’s crypto structure in Turkish security forces have been simultaneously launched in 43 provinces, sources said.
18 February 2020:
Turkey seeks arrest of 467 people for links to Gülen movement
Turkish prosecutors ordered the arrest of 467 people to face charges of links to an outlawed Islamist group accused of attempting to carry out a coup in July 2016, state-run Anadolu news agency said on Tuesday.
The authorities said the warrants were ordered when an ongoing crackdown on the Gülen movement revealed that suspects were involved in irregularities during police promotional exams in 2009, according to Anadolu. Eight suspects have been detained so far in simultaneous operations across 67 provinces, the agency said.
Turkey blames U.S.-based preacher Fethullah Gülen and his followers for the 2016 failed coup, and has since sacked hundreds of thousands of public officials and army personnel in a series of purges.
25 January 2020:
High-ranking FETÖ member that served as Malaysia 'country imam' nabbed in raid
A suspected so-called "country imam" of the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) was arrested in central Turkey, Turkish security sources said Saturday. The suspect, identified by Ahmet K., was a so-called "imam" of FETÖ members in Malaysia from 2011 to 2013. Turkish police detained the suspect and his wife, identified as Betül K., in Turkey's central Konya province.
The couple was brought to the provincial counter-terrorism department for interrogation.
"Country imams" are the highest-ranking members of FETÖ in a single country or region. Accordingly, Ahmet K. was in charge of FETÖ operations in Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, India and Thailand for two years.
24 January 2020:
40 police officers detained over alleged Gülen links
Turkish law enforcement on Friday detained 40 police officers as part of an investigation into alleged Gülen movement followers in the police force, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported. The Turkish government accuses the Gülen movement of masterminding a failed coup on July 15, 2016 and labels it a “terrorist organization,” although the movement strongly denies involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.
The officers were detained following raids in Ankara, Konya, Gaziantep, Kayseri, Adıyaman, Adana, Trabzon, Yozgat and Bursa provinces. Ten other police officers face detention as part of the same investigation, according to Anadolu.
Since the failed coup, more than 130,000 civil servants have been removed from their jobs by the Turkish government while more than 30,000 people are still in jail due to their alleged links to the Gülen movement.More than 33,000 members of the police force have been removed from their jobs due to their alleged Gülen links since the coup attempt.
21 January 2020:
Arrest warrants issued in crackdown on FETÖ infiltrators
Arrest warrants for 48 Gulen movement suspects were issued Tuesday as authorities launched a new clampdown into the shady network's infiltrators in Turkey's education and judiciary system. The Ankara Chief Prosecutor's Office sought the arrest of 16 suspects in an investigation into FETÖ's infiltration into the Ministry of National Education (MEB). The suspects, 11 of them still on active duty, are being sought across seven provinces, including Ankara, Istanbul and İzmir.
Additional arrest warrants for 22 FETÖ suspects were also issued by the Adana Chief Prosecutor's Office. In a statement, the prosecutor's office said the suspects were wanted for trying to recruit military and police school students for the terrorist organization. In a separate probe, the Balıkesir Chief Prosecutor's Office issued warrants for 10 suspects in the judiciary for allegedly being in contact with the so-called "covert imams," the senior members of the terrorist organization.
While prosecutors issued fresh warrants for new suspects, police forces in southern Antalya province arrested 20 FETÖ suspects with existing warrants. According to the police, a large number of documents and digital files were seized in an apartment where the suspects were found. Police said nine of the suspects were sent to the provinces where the cases they are involved in are ongoing, while the rest were released after their statements were taken.
Former judge sentenced
Meanwhile, a court in southeastern Gaziantep province sentenced a former judge to six years and 10 months in prison for being a FETÖ member.The court sentenced Sabit Numan Kaya for "being a member of an armed terrorist organization" as the prosecutor said the evidence showed Kaya using ByLock, an encrypted messaging app developed and exclusively used by FETÖ members.
Turkey arrests 203 suspects in operations against Gulen movement
Authorities issued arrest warrants for 237 people associated with the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) on Tuesday. At least 203 suspects were arrested in nationwide operations while a manhunt is underway to capture the suspects at large.
The largest operations were based in İzmir, a western Turkish city where FETÖ's fugitive leader Fetullah Gülen once attracted large masses to his sermons while he was working as a preacher. Prosecutors in the city issued arrest warrants for 176 people, including active-duty soldiers and soldiers retired or dismissed from the army on suspicion of links to the terrorist group, which was behind the July 15, 2016 coup attempt. Police launched operations in 49 provinces to capture the suspects, 115 of whom were arrested. Media reports say among the wanted suspects were six F-16 fighter jet pilots and four commanders of gendarme garrisons in towns.
Suspects were identified through their contacts with FETÖ's handlers for military infiltrators via pay phones. FETÖ is known for its utmost secrecy. Even when it was disguised as a religious movement, long before its coup attempts in 2016 and 2013, it managed to keep its secret members out of the public eye. Pay phones were one of the methods used to disguise contacts between its members. A new intelligence report shows that the terrorist group turned to pay phones as early as 2009 to arrange meetings of its infiltrators and their handlers.
In the capital Ankara, prosecutors issued arrest warrants for 31 suspects in a probe on FETÖ's mass infiltration into the Turkish Land Forces. Twenty-two suspects, including non-commissioned officers and four civilian handlers controlling terrorist group's military network, were arrested in operations in 10 cities. Another 14 suspects out of 30 with outstanding arrest warrants were detained in operations based in the central city of Konya. Most of them were active-duty soldiers.
In the Black Sea province of Trabzon, authorities issued arrest warrants for 10 suspects and all were captured in operations in Trabzon and five other cities. Police also detained 30 suspects linked to the terrorist group after prosecutors in the northwestern province of Kocaeli issued arrest warrants. Suspects were employees of courthouses and prisons.
Meanwhile, gendarme units in the northwestern city of Edirne arrested two FETÖ suspects who were attempting to sneak into Greece.
FETÖ posed as a religious group for years under the leadership of Gülen before it disclosed its true intention – to topple the government and create chaos in the country – in 2013 with two plots targeting people close to the government. Turkey managed to stave off these attempts and launched operations against the group, which was designated as a national security threat. In 2016, the terrorist group tried to seize power again, this time by staging a coup attempt with the aid of its infiltrators in the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK). This attempt was quelled too, and the group faced heightened scrutiny. Police have launched countless operations against the group since the 2016 coup attempt that killed 251 people and injured nearly 2,200 others. Hundreds of military infiltrators were discovered and arrested in investigations while tens of thousands were arrested for links to the group.
The state of emergency declared after the coup attempt sped up the crackdown on the terrorist group's infiltrators. Some FETÖ members managed to flee abroad, while others are believed to still be hiding their ties to the group. Several former members confessed to authorities that senior figures of the group trained them on how to avoid being detected while serving in the army, law enforcement or judiciary.
21 January 2020:
Detention warrants issued for 22 including former police officers over Gülen links
Turkish prosecutors have issued detention warrants for 22 people including former police officers over alleged links to the Gülen movement, accused by the Turkish government of masterminding a failed coup in July 2016 despite its strong denial of any involvement, according to Turkish media reports.
The detention warrants were issued by the Adana Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office as part of an investigation into alleged Gülen movement followers. Some of the individuals were detained by police teams on Tuesday following simultaneous police raids on addresses in Adana, İstanbul, Osmaniye and Isparta provinces.
The Turkish government accuses the Gülen movement of masterminding the failed coup and labels it a “terrorist organization,” although the movement strongly denies involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.
Since the failed coup, more than 130,000 civil servants have been removed from their jobs by the Turkish government while more than 30,000 people are still in jail due to their alleged links to the Gülen movement.
14 January 2020:
6 pilots among 176 TSK officers facing detention warrants over Gülen links
Turkish prosecutors have issued detention warrants for 176 officers of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) including six F-16 pilots and four gendarmerie district commanders over alleged links to the Gülen movement, accused by the Turkish government of masterminding a failed coup in July 2016, the Anatolia news agency reported.
The detention warrants were issued as part of an investigation based in the western province of İzmir into alleged Gülen movement followers in the TSK.
According to Anatolia, 104 of the officers are on active duty and 72 are retired from the service. One hundred fifteen of the officers have thus far been detained in police operations across 49 provinces.
20 December 2019:
Mayor, 190 others arrested in new wave of operations against FETÖ
Authorities arrested 191 people on Monday and Tuesday in nationwide operations against suspected members of the Gülen movement. FETÖ is under intensified scrutiny following its 2016 coup attempt.
The most high-profile name to be arrested was İbrahim Burak Oğuz, mayor of Urla, a town in the western province of İzmir. Oğuz, who was elected as mayor from the Republican People’s Party (CHP) in the March 31 elections, was arrested for his close ties to the terrorist group.
Prosecutors accuse him of contacts with senior figures in FETÖ. Oğuz was a board member of a business association in İzmir which was closed down for its links to the terrorist group. Oğuz is also accused of spreading the terrorist group’s propaganda as a “sohbet” leader. Sohbet, meaning conversation in Turkish, is a term used to describe meetings of the terrorist group where one high-ranking member speaks on religious matters and on the planning of secret activities.
The suspect was also in contact with the group’s handlers for infiltrators in law enforcement, the judiciary, bureaucracy, military, etc. In his first testimony to police, Oğuz rejected the accusations and claimed he might have contacted FETÖ members due to his previous profession as a financial adviser.
FETÖ is known for planting its members in political parties. So far, authorities have accused four advisers of CHP Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu of having links to FETÖ. One of them, Ahmet Caner Yenidünya, who was also nominated for a parliamentary seat for the CHP in 2015, was dismissed from his post at a university in Istanbul for his links to the terrorist group. Fatih Gürsul, another adviser, was convicted of FETÖ membership and sentenced to 10 years in prison.
The biggest operation was in the capital Ankara on Tuesday. The chief prosecutor’s office in the capital issued arrest warrants for 260 suspects and 171 of them were detained while the manhunt is underway to capture the others. They were arrested as part of an investigation into encrypted messaging app Bylock and all are accused of using Bylock. Bylock is an app developed and exclusively used by FETÖ members for secret communication. It was discovered during criminal inquiries into the terrorist group, whose criminal activities have been under the spotlight since its two coup attempts in 2013.
The National Intelligence Organization (MİT) uncovered the messaging app apparently programmed – or modified for the exclusive use of the group's – by someone linked to FETÖ. According to media reports, police intelligence staff linked to the terrorist group were behind the app. The FETÖ-linked staff working in a powerful intelligence department of the Turkish National Police were the "architects" of the modified app to serve the purposes of the group. A group of intelligence officers is accused of controlling the private app used to deliver FETÖ leader Fetullah Gülen's messages to his followers, as well as to instruct the group's members on how to carry out plots against “foes” of the group.
Millions of Bylock messages exchanged between FETÖ members have been uncovered, while investigations continue to reveal more messages.
Among those arrested in Tuesday’s operations was the daughter of a former member of the Supreme Court of Appeals who upheld a controversial case later revealed to be a sham trial orchestrated by FETÖ, and the wife of another former member of the same court. Media outlets reported the suspects were employees of private and public sector companies.
Also in Ankara, prosecutors ordered the arrest of 18 suspects in an investigation into FETÖ’s infiltration into the Health Ministry and public hospitals. Five suspects were still on active duty while the rest were already dismissed from their jobs on suspicion of having links with the terrorist group. Ten suspects in the case were arrested in operations in Ankara and four other cities.
In the southern province of Gaziantep, prosecutors ordered the arrest of nine FETÖ members who infiltrated the judiciary. The suspects, including court clerks and prison guards, were captured in operations in Gaziantep, Diyarbakır, Adıyaman and Kilis
6 November 2019:
Presidential board vows to give no ground in fight against Gülen movement
Turkey’s newly established Presidential Higher Advisory Board led by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has voiced its determination to continue with an unprecedented crackdown on followers of the Gülen movement without making any compromises, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.
Following a three-hour meeting at Erdoğan’s presidential palace in Ankara on Tuesday, the board released a statement in which it emphasized the importance of the continuation of the fight against the Gülen movement, which is accused by the Turkish government of masterminding a failed coup in July 2016.
Erdoğan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government label the movement as a terrorist organization named “Fetö,” although the movement strongly denies involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.
In its statement the board said compromises would never be made in the “decisive fight against Fetö, which is the culprit of the heinous July 15 coup attempt.” The board also said attitudes and actions that are likely to weaken the fight against the movement would never be allowed.
Following the coup attempt, the Turkish government launched a massive crackdown on followers of the movement under the pretext of an anti-coup fight as a result of which more than 150,000 people were removed from state jobs while in excess of 30,000 others were jailed and some 600,000 people have been investigated on allegations of terrorism.
The board, which was established by a presidential decree in May, comprises former AKP heavyweights who are no longer members of parliament such as Bülent Arınç, İsmail Kahraman, Mehmet Ali Şahin and Köksal Toptan.
In the meantime, Erdoğan at his party’s parliamentary group meeting earlier on Tuesday said he regrets recent remarks from Arınç, who described the post-coup government decrees as a “disaster.”
Arınç also apologized for the purge of the thousands of civil servants from their jobs.
“There are so many people around me who suffered this tragedy. I feel sorry for them, I have sympathy for them. I am actually apologizing to them. I feel so ashamed when I see the woman who comes to my house to clean because she was purged as the director [of a state agency]. A police officer whose spouse, a fellow police officer, was also purged,” he said.
11 September 2019:
Nationwide operations net suspects tied to the Gulen Movement
In a new wave of operations yesterday, 191 arrest warrants were issued for suspected members of the FETÖ terrorist group. Some 59 suspects have already been arrested in investigations into the group's role in the 2016 coup attempt
A new crackdown was launched against the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) yesterday by prosecutors across the country. In operations that came three years after the group tried to seize power in a coup attempt, 191 arrest warrants were issued for suspected members of the terrorist group. Some 59 people were arrested when Daily Sabah went to print.
In three separate investigations in the capital Ankara, prosecutors issued arrest warrants for 128 people. In one investigation, arrest warrants were issued for 50 active-duty noncommissioned officers of Gendarme General Command and three civilian "secret imams." Counterterrorism units from the Ankara police launched raids to detain the suspects but the number of detained is still unclear.
Prosecutors say the noncommissioned officers were in contact with "secret imams," a name given to civilian handlers for FETÖ's military infiltrators, usually via payphones. Communication via payphones is a common method employed by FETÖ to avoid detection. Since the 2016 coup attempt, prosecutors found that nearly 14,500 people used pay phones to communicate with senior members of FETÖ. Around 13,500 of them were arrested in over 800 operations across the country. Some 5,000 of the detainees have been remanded into custody, while nearly 8,500 suspects were released, including those under judicial control.
The terrorist group is known for its widespread infiltration of the army, law enforcement, judiciary and bureaucracy. It first attempted to overthrow the government in 2013 with its infiltrators in the judiciary and the Turkish National Police. It failed, and the group faced increased scrutiny. When the news broke that the military was preparing to launch a mass purge of FETÖ-linked officers in August 2016, the group moved to prevent it with the coup attempt that killed 251 people and injured about 2,200 others. Strong public resistance ultimately stopped the coup, and the coup's ringleaders, including generals, were arrested. Since then, tens of thousands of people linked to the group and the coup attempt have been detained or arrested, while trials were launched into the group's wrongdoings.
In another investigation, prosecutors in Ankara sought the arrests of 27 people from the Land Forces Command of the Turkish Army and two civilian imams. Among the suspects were three captains and 16 first lieutenants as well as lower-ranking officers. The suspects were discovered through their contact with their FETÖ handlers via payphones. Also in Ankara, authorities sought the arrest of 46 suspected users of ByLock, an encrypted messaging app developed and exclusively used by FETÖ members. Some 39 suspects were captured while a manhunt is still underway to capture the others. Another operation against ByLock users was carried out in the northern city of Samsun. Prosecutors ordered the arrest of nine suspects, including two teachers and seven people who worked at FETÖ-linked companies. The suspects were detained in operations in six cities.
A probe into ByLock started prior to the 2016 coup attempt. However, investigations gained significance after the attempt. Authorities deciphered messages revealing secret correspondents pointing to an imminent coup in operations after the coup bid. The Interior Ministry recently announced that 4,676 new ByLock users were detected in the investigation that already identified more than 95,000 users.
In the central city of Konya, arrest warrants were issued for 53 suspects accused of serving as handlers for FETÖ's military infiltrators. Ten suspects were detained, while operations are underway in 28 cities to capture the other suspects. The suspects were identified through interrogations of military personnel and FETÖ handlers who were detained in earlier operations. Prosecutors say the handlers had different positions within the terrorist group and each had "job titles" corresponding to their work with infiltrators. Some simply conveyed the FETÖ leadership's orders to infiltrators, while others helped infiltrators get promotions in the army or worked to recruit military cadets into the terrorist group. In the western city of Eskişehir, police captured Abdülkadir Ö., a former noncommissioned officer.
Abdülkadir was wanted for his role in the 2016 coup attempt. Authorities say the suspect is accused of supplying munitions to a team of putschist soldiers who tried to assassinate President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during the coup bid. The suspect was stationed at an air base in the western city of İzmir when the coup attempt took place. An investigation found out that Abdülkadir was the officer who opened a military arsenal for the team of assassins who took off from the air base in helicopters and gave them munitions.
Erdoğan was on vacation in the southwestern resort town of Marmaris, which is located near İzmir, when the coup attempt broke out. He escaped the assassination attempt when he left his hotel just before the arrival of assassins and secretly flew to Istanbul where he mobilized the public to confront the putschists. Abdülkadir fled after the coup attempt was foiled and was hiding in a house in Eskişehir when he was captured. Gökhan Şahin Sönmezateş, the general who organized the assassination bid, and members of the team of assassins were sentenced to life in earlier trials on the coup attempt, while one member of the team still remains at large.
10 September 2019:
Staff recounts FETÖ putschists raid on TRT in trial
It was the turn of plaintiffs in a trial of the putschists who raided the public broadcaster TRT on July 15, 2016. The crew of the broadcaster testified on what happened when soldiers aligned with Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) stormed the broadcaster's headquarters in the capital Ankara in a trial in the Turkish capital yesterday.
Some 521 defendants are being tried in the Presidential Guard Regiment trial that is underway in Ankara. The members of the prestigious regiment are accused of attempting to take over TRT, where they tried to cut off the broadcast.
In yesterday's hearing, plaintiffs detailed how soldiers arrived to take over the TRT building as a coup was unfolding across Turkey on the orders of FETÖ leaders.
Emine Özlem Avcı was working at the TRT news department when she heard a noise in the production control room around 10 p.m. on July 15, 2016.
"I saw soldiers going upstairs to news studio and yelling the staff to lay down on the ground. We were taken to one floor below and soldiers told us that Daesh would carry out a terrorist attack. We were ordered to lay on the floor again. I saw some colleagues being handcuffed and soldiers told us not to raise our heads while on the ground. They were also talking about reading some sort of declaration. I could not see who was speaking. They later took us to another room on the upper floor while some were ordered to stay where they are. I was among nine people who were locked up in that room until after [the coup attempt] ended," Avcı told the court. Cumhur Kılıç was a chief technician working in a unit for broadcast transmission when the coup attempt took place. He was at night shift when he noticed transmission from TRT World, TRT Çocuk and TRT Müzik channels, which broadcast from Istanbul, were cut off.
"We tried to contact Istanbul but we couldn't. Lines were dead. Around 23:30, some people wearing military fatigues and some civilians came to my unit. A high-ranking officer was leading the group. He did not say anything other ‘You will receive orders from us from now on. Anyone disobeying will be punished,' he said. It was when I realized that this was a coup. All except a man in civilian clothes and a soldier left.
The civilian apparently knew about broadcast transmissions. They wanted us to connect TRT Haber (News) channel's broadcast to all other TRT channels. They wanted a simultaneous broadcast on all channels. I argued with them and tried to find excuses not to do what they wanted. At midnight, we saw a declaration of coup announced on TV," he told the court.
He added that the broadcast was cut off when the satellite provider TÜRKSAT shut down the transmission and it was only then that he found out that people opposing the coup were entering the TRT building. A strong public resistance ultimately foiled the putsch bid that killed 251 people and injured nearly 2,200 others but putschists had succeeded in having a TV presenter they held at gunpoint to read the declaration of the coup in the name of their so-called Peace At Home Council.
20 June 2019:
Who are putschists slapped with heavy jail terms?
Nearly three years on, scores of convicts received heavy jail terms for their involvement in the defeated 2016 coup in Turkey.
In the main trial of former general staff personnel, 224 defendants have been tried, including alleged members of the so-called "Peace at Home Council" -- a sub-group of the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) -- which was meant to replace the government had the deadly putsch not been defeated.
On Thursday, 17 top putschists each faced 141 aggravated life sentences less than month before the third anniversary of the deadly July 15 coup attempt
FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, which left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.
Ankara also accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.
Here are the main FETO convicts who received heavy jail terms:
Akin Ozturk, former Air Force Commander General
Ozturk, the key officer who plotted the coup from within the military, received a total of 141 aggravated life sentences.
Charges against Ozturk include violating the Constitution, attempted assassination of the president, trying to overthrow parliament, directing an armed terrorist group, mutiny, first-degree homicide, damaging public property, endangering public safety, harming houses of worship, and offenses against civil liberty.
Ozturk was charged with being a member of the FETO/PDY (Fetullah Gulen Terrorist Organization and Parallel State Structure) and a member of the so-called council.
The indictment also recounted a conversation when a person identified as Bayram Aktan asked then-Major Mehmet Akcara "Where is the commander?" referring to the loyalist Chief of General Staff General Hulusi Akar.
According to Aktan's statement, Akcara responded: "There is no commander. From now on Akin Ozturk is the commander."
Former General Hakan Evrim, commander of Ankara's Akinci Main Jet Base
A member of the so-called "Peace at Home Council", Evrim was handed 141 aggravated life sentences for his involvement in the defeated coup.
He was the commander of Akinci Main Jet Base, which was used as headquarters during the attempt.
If the coup attempt had been successful, Evrim would have been slated to become the "Undersecretary of National Education".
Evrim asked then-Chief of Staff General Hulusi Akar to speak with Gulen, whom he described as an "opinion leader", while holding Akar under detention with other pro-coup forces.
Mehmet Disli, FETO’s coup director
Also a member of the putschist council, Mehmet Disli received 141 aggravated life sentences.
He was the head of the General Staff's Strategic Transformation Department with the rank of major-general until FETO's treacherous coup attempt.
Disli said he would ask Akar -- currently serving as defense minister -- to cooperate and lead the coup attempt, after having planned the attempted putsch with two other former officers in the General Staff headquarters. Had Akar accepted, Akin Ozturk would have been second-in-command.
After face-to-face meetings with other FETO-member soldiers in the headquarters, he entered Akar's office to tell the four-star general that an operation against the government was imminent, only to be vehemently rejected by Akar.
Unable to persuade Akar to lead the coup attempt, Disli ordered his accompanying soldiers to detain him.
Akar was later taken to the Akinci Base via military helicopter.
FETO soldiers who lost hope after realizing the putsch would fail were forced to release Akar. Seeing this as an opportunity, Disli rode in the same helicopter as Akar to former seat of the now-defunct prime ministry at the Cankaya Palace in Ankara.
He was subsequently exposed by Akar who met with then-Prime Minister Binali Yildirim and reported Disli’s suspicious behavior throughout the night. Afterwards, Disli was detained.
Ilhan Talu, General Staff personnel chief
Among the members of the putschist council, Ilhan Talu, a former lieutenant general, was slapped with an aggravated life sentence for violating constitutional order.
He served as the General Staff personnel chief until the treacherous coup attempt of FETO.
Talu guided Special Forces personnel to the hallway of the General Staff headquarters and mislead Yusuf Yalcin, a guard of the second chief, and Mehmet Satun, a sergeant on duty, by saying an exercise was being carried out.
In a court hearing, he claimed he alerted the authorities who were not involved in the coup attempt on July 15 after learning that it was a coup bid led by FETO.
Levent Turkkan, aide of former chiefs of general staff
Turkan started to serve as the aide of the then-chief of General Staff Gen. Necdet Ozel in 2011. After assuming the post, Turkkan started to receive secret missions from FETO.
Turkkan had confessed he spied on Ozel during his post between 2011- 2015.
Once General Hulusi Akar was appointed as the Chief of Staff, Turkkan said he stopped wire-tapping.
He proved his commitment to the FETO terror group during the coup attempt as being a part of the staff that entered Akar's room and gagged him.
After the thwarted coup bid, Turkkan said he surrendered to the military officials who turned him in to the police.
More than 30,000 arrested for Gulen movement links since the coup bid
The Interior Ministry announced Monday that 30,709 people have been taken into custody for their links to the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) since its members tried to seize power in a coup attempt in July 2016.
Speaking at a press briefing yesterday in the capital Ankara, ministry spokesman İsmail Çataklı said security forces "processed" 511,646 people on FETÖ-related charges over three years following the coup attempt that killed 251 people. "The process" refers to detentions and investigations. A total of 30,709 among them were arrested and are still in custody awaiting hearings in their cases or the start of their trials. Çataklı said another 19,329 people were convicted of FETÖ membership and related crimes. "We continue our fight against FETÖ with determination," the spokesman added. Source
Interior minister says more than 500,000 detained, 30,000 arrested over Gülen links
Turkey’s Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu announced on Wednesday night that more than 500,000 people have been detained while 30,000 others were sent to jail over alleged links to the Gülen movement.
Soylu’s remarks came during an interview on the 24 TV station.
The Turkish government accuses the Gülen movement of masterminding a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016 and labels it a “terrorist organization,” although the movement strongly denies involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.
Soylu was responding to a question about main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu’s claim that ordinary and poor people were being sent to jail due to Gülen links.
“More than 500,000 detentions were made, and there are 30,000 in jail [due to Gülen links]. Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu lacks the capacity to understand the severity of this [fight against the movement].
Following the coup attempt, the Turkish government launched a massive crackdown on followers of the movement under the pretext of an anti-coup fight as a result of which more than 150,000 people were removed from state jobs in addition to others facing legal action.