The centuries-old question of "who will guard the guards?" comes up as Turkey struggles to fight the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) blamed for the July 15 coup attempt. Having already infiltrated the judiciary, law enforcement, bureaucracy and military, weeding out Gülenists might be a daunting task. Investigators learned the hard way when a top prosecutor inquiring about FETÖ turned out to be a FETÖ member himself.
Anadolu Agency (AA) reported that Şadan Sakınan, who served as acting chief prosecutor in the capital Ankara, was a user of Bylock, an encrypted messaging app exclusively used by the terrorist group, prosecutors say. Sakınan was handling a case into the alleged mass cheating in a civil servant exam in which thousands linked to the terror cult are implicated and is accused of covering up FETÖ's connection to the case.
Along with Sakınan, prosecutors in Ankara also found out that former prosecutor Mustafa Bilgili, who had access to a military intelligence agency's confidential documents in a controversial investigation, was also a member of FETÖ's Bylock community. Bilgili was captured and jailed.
The two men are among the hundreds of judges and prosecutors dismissed from duty, arrested and detained as part of Turkey's anti-terror efforts, accelerated after the July 15 putsch bid. They had been "actively" using Bylock since 2014, the year when FETÖ was designated as a security threat, according to the prosecutors. Bylock was accessible through download via a virtually private network. Its modified version found in the cellphones of FETÖ suspects is not available in app stores according to security experts, who dismiss the claims of the defendants in other Bylock cases saying they "accidentally" downloaded it from app stores.
Evidence has already piled up concerning the role of FETÖ in a string of controversial trials that have seen hundreds imprisoned based on forged evidence and trumped-up charges. An intelligence report recently presented to the Supreme Court of Appeals in a trial over illegal wiretapping added more evidence to that extent showing that nearly all prosecutors and judges handling those trials were users of Bylock. Muammer Akkaş, for instance, conducted the infamous Dec. 25 probe where prominent figures close to the government were sought to be imprisoned based on what the government called baseless charges. Through the so-called anti-graft probe, Akkaş sought to implicate then Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the case, but he was dismissed from duty when it was revealed he tried to do so on trumped-up charges. He remains at large after an arrest warrant was issued for him in 2015 for links to FETÖ. Süleyman Karaçöl, another Bylock user, was the judge who ordered the arrests in the Dec. 25 probe. Celal Kara, another prosecutor among the Bylock users, was in charge of another case culminated in an operation targeting the sons of ministers on Dec. 17, 2013. Both cases are commonly recognized as disguised coup attempts. Akkaş and Kara remain at large and are believed to be hiding in Germany after they were issued arrest warrants for their links to the terror cult.
Şadan Sakınan was investigating a case regarding the Public Personnel Selection Exam (KPSS) held in 2010 before he faced dismissal for his links to FETÖ. The prosecutors investigating the exam fraud accused thousands of people, mostly couples or relatives, of obtaining questions and answers to the exam thanks to FETÖ infiltrators in the body organizing the exam. After the July 15 coup attempt, a body overseeing the appointments of judges and prosecutors ordered his dismissal.
Mustafa Bilgili was handling the notorious "cosmic room" case before his dismissal for FETÖ links and recent arrest. Bilgili had access to confidential documents branded as state secrets in the so-called "cosmic room" of an army intelligence unit under the pretext of investigating intelligence officers accused of attempting to kill a politician. Though Bilgili was barred from the search of the intelligence department, a judge who was also linked to FETÖ was authorized to enter the room and searched the place for 20 days.