Turkey seeks to bring thou­sands of feTÖ mem­bers abroad to jus­tice

The for­eign min­istry and in­tel­li­gence ser­vices have asked prose­cu­tors to is­sue ar­rest war­rants for 4,600 mem­bers of feTÖ, the ter­ror­ist group be­hind the 2016 coup at­tempt

Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - National -

TURKEY has launched in­ter­na­tional ef­forts to bring mem­bers of elu­sive Gülenist Ter­ror Group (FETÖ) to jus­tice. Through an in­quiry in co­op­er­a­tion with in­tel­li­gence ser­vices, the For­eign Min­istry de­ter­mined 4,600 sus­pected mem­bers of the group around the world and has asked the Chief Pros­e­cu­tor’s Of­fice in the cap­i­tal Ankara to is­sue their ar­rest war­rants.

All sus­pects are ac­cused of be­ing in­volved in pro-FETÖ pro­pa­ganda, which es­ca­lated af­ter Turk­ish of­fi­cials an­nounced that the ter­ror­ist group was be­hind the deadly coup at­tempt on July 15, 2016. On that day, a to­tal of 249 peo­ple were killed when in­fil­tra­tors of the ter­ror­ist group in the mil­i­tary tried to seize power.

Im­pos­ing a state of emer­gency, Turk­ish au­thor­i­ties launched a na­tion­wide man­hunt to cap­ture the sus­pects in­volved in the coup at­tempt. Thou­sands were de­tained or ar­rested while the group’s gov­ern­ment in­fil­tra­tors were weeded out from the army, law en­force­ment and ju­di­ciary.

Of­fi­cials al­ready is­sued ar­rest war­rants for se­nior cadres of the group, in­clud­ing FETÖ leader Fe­tul­lah Gülen, who is one of the most wanted sus­pects.

Wash­ing­ton has so far been re­luc­tant for to ex­tra­dite the ter­ror­ist leader Gülen, who has been liv­ing in Penn­syl­va­nia since 1999.

Investigators be­lieve that along with Gülen, sev­eral key fig­ures of the ter­ror­ist group fled the coun­try fol­low­ing crim­i­nal in­quiries live in a posh re­treat run by a Gülenist foun­da­tion.

Turkey mon­i­tors the ac­tiv­i­ties of Gülenists in 160 coun­tries. The ter­ror­ist group runs a global net­work of schools and com­pa­nies. It has long dis­guised it­self as a char­ity or­ga­ni­za­tion with re­li­gious af­fil­i­a­tions be­fore mov­ing to seize power first in 2013 in Turkey.

FETÖ sus­pects mostly live in the United States, Ger­many, Canada and United King­dom. A ma­jor­ity of Turkey’s al­lies in Africa and Asia have shut down FETÖ-linked schools and have al­ready ex­tra­dited wanted sus­pects.

Mean­while, all 4,600 names sup­plied by the For­eign Min­istry work as “imams,” point men of the ter­ror­ist group, and in lower cadres.

Along with those liv­ing abroad, prose­cu­tors are now also in­ves­ti­gat­ing their ties to FETÖ sus­pects in Turkey. They grad­u­ally face ex­tra­di­tion af­ter prose­cu­tors wrap up the cases on each sus­pect.

Re­cently, Turkey has asked Azer­bai­jan, coun­try’s clos­est ally, to ex­tra­dite six sus­pects and Baku has com­pleted the ex­tra­di­tion of two of them, in­clud­ing a deputy of FETÖ’s imam for all of Azer­bai­jan.

One of sus­pects was work­ing at a school run by Gülenists in Azer­bai­jan while the other was an em­ployee of a com­pany linked to the ter­ror­ist group.

FETÖ’s coup at­tempt in 2016 was quelled thanks to a strong pub­lic re­sis­tance. Tri­als of hun­dreds in­volved in the putsch at­tempt are still un­der­way. In a 104 tri­als since 2016, some 586 de­fen­dants, in­clud­ing gen­er­als, were sen­tenced to life for their in­volve­ment in the in­sur­rec­tion bid. The main trial of those ac­cused of or­ches­trat­ing the coup plot and a trial of putschists who took over the main head­quar­ters of the army is still un­der­way.

Se­cu­rity forces also carry out op­er­a­tions on a daily ba­sis to cap­ture FETÖ mem­bers. On Wed­nes­day, nine peo­ple ac­cused of com­mand­ing FETÖ’s in­fil­tra­tors in a po­lice train­ing school were de­tained in na­tion­wide op­er­a­tions.

A court in Is­tan­bul, mean­while, sen­tenced for­mer judge Rabia Başer to seven years and six months in prison for mem­ber­ship to the ter­ror­ist group. Başer was also the wife of Mustafa Başer, a judge also im­pris­oned for his links to the group.

Mustafa Başer had stirred up con­tro­versy af­ter he or­dered the pre­ma­ture re­lease of a group of po­lice chiefs de­tained for FETÖ mem­ber­ship.

Fe­tul­lah Gülen, seen here in a khaki garb in a veiled mes­sage to FETÖ in­fil­tra­tors in the mil­i­tary, is among the most wanted sus­pects in the 2016 coup. Ankara is of­fer­ing up to TL 4 mil­lion for tips for his cap­ture.

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