The Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) worked its way up to the higher ranks of the Turkish army and when they failed, they managed to position their men close to generals, a new indictment released yesterday shows.
Accused of masterminding and orchestrating the July 15 coup attempt that killed 249 people, FETÖ had infiltrated into the army for decades before, and for the first time, its infiltrators tried to seize power on that fateful day.
Amid a flurry of trials and investigations, the Chief Prosecutor's Office in the capital Ankara released a lengthy indictment detailing how their infiltration scheme worked.
The indictment, detailing the coup attempt at the Land Forces Command whose commander was held hostage by coup plotting officers, also focuses on what it called setting up "barricades" around high-ranking generals by surrounding them with FETÖ-linked aides.
Thanks to its clout in the army departments handling the appointment of officers and by a defamation campaign against any officer opposing their influence in the army, they succeeded to an extent.
Any officer who opposed an unfair assignment or would air complaints against suspected FETÖ members in the army, would be subject to a merciless social and print media campaign by FETÖ's followers and in the end would be exposed to criminal investigations by military judges. Even if they were not found guilty in the internal investigations, which were mostly based on anonymous accusational letters, a minor disciplinary action would overshadow their career. Ultimately, their promotion to a higher rank would be slowed down.
Prosecutors say having aides loyal to FETÖ primarily helped the terror cult to gain access to critical and often times, confidential information about the army. Then, when the pro-coup officers launched the putsch bid, they helped them easily capture generals, including army chief Gen. Hulusi Akar whose closest aides were loyal to the terror cult according to the criminal investigations. All aides are imprisoned now and awaiting their trial on coup charges that carry lifetime prison terms.
According to the indictment, once it held sway in the offices of the top military brass, FETÖ members were able to even change the daily schedule of generals and more importantly, to dismiss anyone close to the generals from the army if they found out that the person was not sympathetic to the terrorist group.
If they failed to install its men to the offices of some of the generals, the generals would be targeted in defamation campaigns and would eventually be forced to retire or would be dismissed on false charges as a result of the defamation campaigns. The prosecutors also claim that the terrorist group, with access to the army's confidential information, used it to blackmail the government and supplied it to foreign intelligence services "including the United States intelligence services."
A court date is expected to be assigned soon for the 150 defendants in the indictment which names several generals, including the head of the Land Forces' logistics unit, as pro-coup officers.
Although it had infiltrators and sympathizers everywhere, from law enforcement and judiciary, it is known that the terror cult led by U.S.-based former preacher Fetullah Gülen attached importance to infiltrating into the army. Gülen has hinted in his earlier speeches to his followers that the army was vital to the group's attempt to seize power and when the state apparently moved to weed out Gülenist officers in the army, it jumped to action by rescheduling its putsch bid. An unexpected resistance by civilians and anti-coup police and military officers had ultimately quelled the coup attempt.
The indictment says the terror cult sought to have its young members pursue a military career and at times, even supplied questions and answers to the military school exams. Both before and after the military schools, the group's members were in total control of "imams" or "brothers," higher-ranking FETÖ militants overseeing the activities of infiltrators, from picking "suitable" wives for officers to asking them to blacklist those not aligned with FETÖ.
Once it had enough power in the army, the group was able to stop any attempt to uncover its infiltrators in the army as they would be informed beforehand about investigations against FETÖ and would take measures.
The infiltration started in the 1970s and peaked by the end of the 1990s, when Fetullah Gülen left for the United States in a self-imposed exile. According to the indictment, the terror cult first recruited members from the military departments overseeing the recruitment of new personnel. They also focused on military intelligence and the administration of military schools, two key military units for a successful infiltration.
Another indictment about FETÖ released yesterday showing how the terrorist group sneaked into the military judiciary. Thirty-three suspects are the main defendants in the indictment that says like the civilian judiciary, the military judiciary was largely composed of judges and prosecutors loyal to the terror cult. If the coup attempt succeeded, almost all military judges would be appointed to "martial law courts," documents found in possession of pro-coup officers show.
The prosecutors say all these judges were appointed to their pre-coup duties thanks to military judiciary exams between 2009 and 2014 and there is strong evidence that many "cheated" on these exams. FETÖ is already accused of helping its followers cheat in exams for public sector jobs and a past exam was completely scrapped when the results were tainted with a massive cheating scandal blamed on Gülenists who supplied answers and questions to participants.
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