Sus­pect con­fesses to FETÖ links to coup at­tempt

Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - Front Page -

A RE­CENTLY de­tained sus­pected mem­ber of the Gülenist Ter­ror Group (FETÖ) ad­mit­ted to po­lice that two civil­ians ar­rested on July 15 last year at Akıncı Air Base were mem­bers of the cult that car­ried out the bloody coup at­tempt.

A SUS­PECT ac­cused of run­ning a net­work of in­fil­tra­tors in the mil­i­tary on be­half of the Gülenist Ter­ror Group (FETÖ) con­fessed to au­thor­i­ties that two men cap­tured at a mil­i­tary base dur­ing the 2016 coup at­tempt were in­deed FETÖ mem­bers.

Birol K., whose last name was with­held by au­thor­i­ties, was re­cently de­tained in Is­tan­bul in an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into his role as an imam for tem­po­rary of­fi­cers in the Air Force. The ter­ror­ist group’s mem­bers in charge of its mem­bers are re­ferred to as imams. Us­ing a law grant­ing a re­duc­tion in prison terms for ter­ror­ist sus­pects, he chose to be an in­for­mant.

Ac­cord­ing to his con­fes­sion, Adil Ök­süz and Ke­mal Bat­maz, two civil­ians cap­tured at Akıncı Air Base, the com­mand cen­ter of the putschists on July 15, 2016, were imams for Air Force FETÖ in­fil­tra­tors. Birol K. said it was ac­tu­ally Bat­maz, not Ök­süz, who con­trolled in­fil­tra­tors dur­ing the coup at­tempt. Ök­süz, who is cur­rently on the run, was long thought to be the mas­ter­mind of the coup at­tempt, and pros­e­cu­tors claim he at­tended meet­ings with putschist of­fi­cers to plan it.

Bat­maz de­nies any link to the group and in his court tes­ti­mony, claimed it was not him in the se­cu­rity cam­era footage from the base. An ex­ec­u­tive of a com­pany af­fil­i­ated with FETÖ, Bat­maz and an em­ployee of an­other FETÖ-linked com­pany were found near the base dur­ing the coup at­tempt in which 249 peo­ple were killed.

The sus­pect ac­knowl­edged that the Ankara villa where Ök­süz met putschist of­fi­cers was used by imams be­fore, as well, and that he stayed there in Fe­bru­ary 2016, too, al­though he de­nied any links to the coup. He said Ök­süz was the imam for the Air Force be­tween 2009 and 2014, and handed it over to Bat­maz that year.

FETÖ is ac­cused of or­ches­trat­ing mul­ti­ple coup at­tempts in Turkey, and its mem­bers face ter­ror­ism charges. Af­ter two failed at­tempts in 2013, the group’s mem­bers tried to seize power through its in­fil­tra­tors in the mil­i­tary on July 15, 2016.

Pros­e­cu­tors claim that the group’s in­fil­tra­tors in law en­force­ment, the ju­di­ciary, the bu­reau­cracy and the mil­i­tary had waged a long-run­ning cam­paign to top­ple the gov­ern­ment.

Tens of thou­sands were de­tained or ar­rested af­ter the coup at­tempt and coup tri­als are un­der­way across Turkey. Few civil­ian FETÖ mem­bers have ap­peared be­fore the courts, as many man­aged to flee abroad be­fore and af­ter the coup at­tempt. Au­thor­i­ties launch al­most daily op­er­a­tions to cap­ture the group’s mem­bers and pur­sue in­ter­na­tional ef­forts to bring fugi­tive sus­pects to justice, in­clud­ing FETÖ’s U.S.-based leader Fe­tul­lah Gülen.

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