Europe safe haven for FETÖ, for­mer mem­ber says

Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - Front Page -

A FOR­MER mem­ber of the Gülenist Ter­ror Group (FETÖ), who turned state’s ev­i­dence af­ter be­ing cap­tured in Is­tan­bul, told au­thor­i­ties that it was enough to ad­mit links to FETÖ for many Euro­pean coun­tries to grant asy­lum.

“YOU only have to prove that you are a Gülenist,” a mem­ber of the Gülenist Ter­ror Group (FETÖ), who con­fessed to his role as a point man in the group, says, as a way to get a res­i­dence per­mit in Ger­many. The tes­ti­mony of E.Ş., an “imam” (point man) for FETÖ’s in­fil­tra­tors in the mil­i­tary, re­vealed the group’s tac­tics to flee abroad af­ter the 2016 putsch at­tempt it car­ried out in Tur­key.

E.Ş. was re­cently cap­tured in Is­tan­bul and in­voked a re­morse law that al­lows cap­tured ter­ror sus­pects to re­ceive le­nient sen­tences in re­turn for turn­ing state’s ev­i­dence. He told the in­ter­roga­tors that hav­ing a pass­port was suf­fi­cient to travel to any Euro­pean coun­tries once a mem­ber of the group ar­rives in Greece. “Cur­rently, there are some 1,000 [FETÖ mem­bers] in Greece and there is a unit over­see­ing cross­ings [by the mem­bers to Greece and other Euro­pean coun­tries]. They help those ar­riv­ing from Tur­key and di­rect them to coun­tries like Ger­many, Bel­gium, the Nether­lands, Swe­den and Nor­way. If a mem­ber doesn’t have a pass­port, they pro­vide forged ones,” he said. The con­fess­ing mem­ber also noted that one only has to tell the au­thor­i­ties that he or she is “a Gülenist” to re­ceive res­i­dence per­mit in Ger­many. “Ger­many gives them up to 130 eu­ros monthly be­fore they re­ceive res­i­dence per­mits and they re­ceive 300 eu­ros once they re­ceive the per­mit,” he claimed.

The sus­pect’s tes­ti­mony also high­lights how the ter­ror­ist group “dis­crim­i­nates” be­tween its poor and rich mem­bers. “Those with bet­ter fi­nan­cial sta­tus are ad­vised to flee abroad and the poor mem­bers are di­rected to safe houses in Tur­key,” he said.

FETÖ is known for its wide­spread in­fil­tra­tion in the ju­di­ciary, law en­force­ment, mil­i­tary and bu­reau­cracy. Through its fol­low­ers in the ju­di­ciary, it is ac­cused of or­ches­trat­ing sham tri­als to im­prison its crit­ics or any­one it deemed an ob­sta­cle to its in­ter­ests. Af­ter ex­pand­ing its clout, it sought to top­ple the gov­ern­ment, first in 2013. The group is also ac­cused of ac­ti­vat­ing its in­fil­tra­tors in the mil­i­tary, from low-rank­ing of­fi­cers to gen­er­als, to seize power in the sum­mer of 2016 ahead of a planned crack­down on its in­fil­tra­tors, killing 250 peo­ple op­pos­ing the coup in the process.

Af­ter the putsch bid was foiled, FETÖ faced a height­ened crack­down. In the first two weeks of this month only, the au­thor­i­ties cap­tured 1,034 sus­pected mem­bers of the group and op­er­a­tions are un­der­way al­most on a daily ba­sis. The group’s se­nior cadres, in­clud­ing its leader Fe­tul­lah Gülen, live in the United States or fled there af­ter the foiled putsch at­tempt. The rest with out­stand­ing ar­rest war­rants try to flee to Europe. They mostly seek land cross­ings into Greece via the Turk­ish bor­der prov­ince of Edirne.

E.Ş. says Ger­many in par­tic­u­lar is a safe haven for fugi­tive Gülenists who can “even find jobs in pub­lic schools as teach­ers.” Es­cap­ing pros­e­cu­tion for links to the coup at­tempt and FETÖ, more than 600 mil­i­tary of­fi­cers and civil ser­vants from Tur­key are be­lieved to have ap­plied for asy­lum in Ger­many since the coup at­tempt, ac­cord­ing to fig­ures re­leased by the Ger­man In­te­rior Min­istry last Oc­to­ber. A se­nior fig­ure of the group in Ger­many told the Ger­man me­dia last year that the Euro­pean Union coun­try will be­come “a new cen­ter” for the group. Ankara con­demned Ber­lin’s de­ci­sion to ac­cept the asy­lum ap­pli­ca­tions of for­mer mil­i­tary per­son­nel last year. The Turk­ish For­eign Min­istry said in a state­ment that Ger­many has shown dis­re­gard for demo­cratic prin­ci­ples by wel­com­ing coup per­pe­tra­tors.

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