Having gained complete control over the intelligence, organized crime and narcotics units of the Turkish National Police, Gülen's people were in a great position to control drug trafficking, weapons smuggling, illegal gambling and human trafficking
Much has been said about the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), the Pennsylvania-based terrorist group led by Fetullah Gulen, since the July 15 coup attempt in Turkey. Yet, we are nowhere close to understanding this complex phenomenon. Even though a number of documents and testimonies have emerged, many people are still confused about the nature of this threat. There is a good chance that it will take years, if not decades, for us to fully grasp the reality.
There are competing theories about the organization's establishment. From the early 1960s onward, FETÖ was part of a plan developed by foreign powers and backed by officials of the Turkish state. Even though governments came and went, the group's connections within the bureaucracy made it possible for them to continue infiltrating various agencies.
Over the course of decades, FETÖ operatives gained control over key positions in the government, including the judiciary, law enforcement, the military and civilian bureaucracy.
At the same time, the group expanded their operations to the private sector by launching private companies, media outlets, publishing houses and even film production companies. Their plan was to create a parallel state that would replace the Turkish government when the time came.
To be clear, this isn't your textbook terrorist group. Although some people still like to think that the authorities are exaggerating the seriousness of the threat or using FETÖ to further unrelated agendas, the organization truly pops up wherever one looks.
One such area is the group's connections to the underworld. Seriously, is it completely out of that question that an organization trying to build a parallel state would have contacts with the mafia?Of course, the state has an obligation to prevent illicit activities. But some governments, in part or whole, tend to use the underworld to redesign the political landscape and put pressure on their rivals. If necessary, the authorities help new mob bosses rise through the ranks.
After the 1980 military coup, the Turkish authorities did exactly that. Certain people within the government believed that the state should have control over the underworld and therefore manufactured new bosses. At the time, I published a number of stories on so-called licensed mafia bosses.
The same people were in the spotlight after a car accident in Susurluk, which unveiled the secret ties between the government, law enforcement and organized crime. Some licensed bosses were involved in assassinations. Others focused on illegal gambling.
A closer look at FETÖ and their parallel state would reveal that this group isn't any different. Having gained complete control over the intelligence, organized crime and narcotics units of the Turkish National Police, Gülen's people were in a great position to control drug trafficking, weapons smuggling, illegal gambling and human trafficking.
Although the public knows quite a bit about FETÖ's involvement in show trials against their rivals in the military and the July 15 coup attempt, the group's relationship with the mafia remains unknown. Once the authorities shed light on the relationship between FETÖ and organized crime, it will become clear that the group only paid lip service to religion and used Islam as a mask.
A formal investigation could reveal how FETÖ operatives in law enforcement effectively protected mob bosses when they had complete power over the police. It would also be interesting to find out how much the mob bosses donated to the group to return the favor.
Wherever you look, FETÖ has connections with the underworld. If we wish to understand what exactly we are faced with, it is necessary to expose their ties to gambling, weapons and drugs.
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