Muhammet Sait Gülen, the nephew of U.S.-based imam Fethullah Gülen, the leader of the Gülenist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) who is accused of being the mastermind behind the failed July 15 coup attempt, condemned the putsch by the controversial group that he worked with for 15 years.
Sait Gülen was detained July 23 in eastern Erzurum province as part of an investigation into the putsch. He also faces charges of fraud committed during the 2010 civil service recruitment exam, known as the KPSS.
In his testimony to the prosecutor, he condemned the coup attempt and his uncle's comments related to it: "When I learned via the press that Gülenists were behind the coup attempt, I saw the real face of the 'congregation.' I absolutely do not approve of these actions by FETÖ, attacking its people and the police, shooting at them. I condemn it. I saw citizens being crushed by tanks."
"I thought this congregation served the country, the state and religion," he said. "But after the things they did on the night of the July 15 coup attempt, I realized that [the movement], especially the executives, were not acting the way we thought they were. I also decry Fethullah Gülen for calling the public who protested the coup attempt 'fools.'"
Fethullah Gülen had called the millions of people that gathered all across Turkey to protest the failed coup attempt "fools" and had called their success a laughing matter in a video released on July 22.
Sait Gülen said that he had not been an intermediary for monetary transactions or transfers but confessed that he had delivered "insignificant amounts of money," about TL 50-100, by hand irregularly.
However, he said that civil servants and tradesmen had to pay a certain amount to FETÖ under the name "himmet," meaning favor in English. "I don't remember who I gave the money to. I didn't do these 'favors' regularly because my salary as a private school teacher was quite low, " he added.
These favors are donations given to Gülenist charities that are accused of transferring money for the personal use of FETÖ cadres. Though wealthy members of the movement personally finance FETÖ, some businessmen are believed to have been forced to pay himmet after they were blackmailed by the group.
Police have been investigating the funneling of himmet to FETÖ.
Sait Gülen also confessed to fraud that he committed during the KPSS exam.
S. Gülen, who was known by the code name "Murat" back in 2001, said that his friend Süleyman Yörük, code named "Tahir," had called him to his house five days before the exam. Another friend present at the house, Özcan Solmaz or "Sait," provided about 100-120 questions from the Educational Sciences exam along with the answers and about 40-45 questions-and-answers to the General Culture and General Ability exam to the young Gülen.
"He made me swear that I would not tell anyone about the things he showed me. After I memorized the answers, I left the house."
The KPSS cheating trial started in March with 230 defendants. A total of 54 people were arrested, while others were released pending trial after a string of police operations last year. Defendants are accused of running a criminal organization, being members of the organization, forgery of official documents and/or defrauding public agencies.
The case stems from the revelation that a large number of people who scored high on the 2010 KPSS exam were either partners or relatives of Gülenists or were employed by companies and schools linked to the Gülen Movement. The head of a nongovernmental organization associated with the Gülen Movement, who remains at large, is accused of delivering exam answers to participants with the assistance of Gülenist infiltrators within the state-run institution that organizes the exam.
Prosecutors believe the KPSS was a springboard for Gülenists to infiltrate state institutions and climb the ranks of the bureaucracy.
The exact number of people who scored high thanks to being supplied with the questions and answers is not available, although authorities say the fraud was carried out nationwide. Prosecutors say in the indictment that the FETÖ's attempts to install its members in public agencies posed a serious threat to the state, and also damaged the public's confidence in equality and qualification for public jobs.
Turkey's government has repeatedly said the deadly coup attempt, which martyred at least 239 people and injured nearly 2,200 others, was organized by Fetullah Gülen's followers.
Fetullah Gülen is also accused of implementing a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through infiltrating Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary, forming what is commonly known as the parallel state.
Gülen has lived in self-imposed exile in the U.S. since 1999 and Turkey has so far sent the U.S. two official requests for his extradition to face trial.
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