During the July 15, 2016 coup attempt, Akıncı Air Base, which is located 35 kilometers away from Ankara, functioned as the headquarters of the coup plotters. The key figures involved in the atrocity that night were at the air base from where the jets that bombed Parliament, the Presidential Palace and the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) headquarters took off. According to security camera footage recorded that night, there were five civilians at the air base whom the troops saluted.
Those giving orders to soldiers include a real estate agent, a lecturer and a documentary producer. Also, Adil Öksüz, the Gülenist Terror Group's (FETÖ) senior imam in the military, was originally a theology lecturer. It can be inferred from the civilians tried in the Akıncı case how complicated FETÖ's organizational hierarchy is. So, a closer look at those civilians would be useful.
The number-one defendant is Öksüz, a low-profile theology lecturer who worked at Sakarya University's Faculty of Theology. His students describe him as unobtrusive. Öksüz was caught while trying to get away from the air base in the morning after the coup attempt. It was subsequently revealed that he went to the U.S. on July 11, four days before the coup attempt, and returned on July 13 with Kemal Batmaz, another civilian at the air base during on the night of the coup attempt. It is believed that Öksüz and Batmaz, who returned from Washington, paid a visit to FETÖ leader Fetullah Gülen, who lives in Pennsylvania, in order to receive direct orders from him ahead of the coup attempt.
Batmaz is a former executive at Kaynak Holding, a FETÖ-linked conglomerate. It was found that he resigned and established a real estate agency in 2015, but it never had any financial transactions and had not leased or sold property since it was founded. In other words, he founded a shell company to hide his role as an imam for FETÖ. The security camera footage from Akıncı Air Base shows that even high-ranking FETÖ-linked officers saluted Batmaz, which indicates his senior position in the organization.
Another defendant, Hakan Çiçek, was the owner of Anafartalar College, which was revealed to be a FETÖ-linked school although it represented itself as being Kemalist, as the name suggests. Çiçek, who was caught by gendarmes while fleeing the air base during the night of the coup, claimed that he went to the base for a social event on an invitation from Colonel Ahmet Özçetin, marking one of the most absurd explanations in the case. Revealed to be the staff officers' imam, Çiçek's brother Major Gökhan Çiçek was also among the officers who joined in on the coup attempt.
Nurettin Oruç, another civilian imam at Akıncı Air Base on July 15, was formerly employed in a FETÖ-linked firm, Soyut Medya. Soyut Medya's owner, Fetullah Çatal, was also apprehended on the night of the coup attempt along with several other FETÖ militants while trying to flee to Greece. His brother, Lieutenant Hüseyin Oruç, who was at Akıncı Base's 143rd fleet, is still being sought. Revealed to be the imam of the southeastern gendarmerie, Oruç defended himself in court by claiming that he came to Akıncı on that night to shoot a documentary.
Harun Biniş is the fifth civilian imam in on the coup attempt. Biniş was formerly employed at Sürat Information Company, which is affiliated with the FETÖ-owned Kaynak Holding. He also worked for Turkey's Telecommunication Directorate (TİB) between 2010 and 2012. He took part in establishing TİB's communication systems that operated as a wiretapping service for FETÖ during those years. He fled in 2014 when he was included in the indictments on illegal wiretapping of military officers and MİT members as part of the process of unraveling FETÖ's plots in the aftermath of the Dec. 17 and Dec. 25 judicial coup attempts. However, records show him at the air base on July 15. While he was trying to flee after the coup attempt failed, he was caught with Batmaz.
The phrase nothing is as it seems takes on new meaning as the organizational structure of FETÖ unravels. Therefore, the foreign observers wondering why many teachers have been discharged from their positions can take a close look at the Akıncı Air Base case.