Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) members in the gendarmerie who participated in last year's botched coup attempt, ordered subordinates to fire on citizens who were flooding the streets, according to an indictment prepared by the Ankara Prosecutor's Office. FETÖ is led by U.S.-based Fetullah Gülen (below).
The indictment charges 244 suspects with attempting to topple the democratically elected government, murder and other crimes. Several colonels and lower officers are accused of receiving orders from their FETÖ imam around 9:30 p.m. on July 15 last year, after which they went to the Gendarmerie Command in the center of Ankara. After they disarmed the guards, other FETÖ-linked officers started to arrive. After taking over gendarmerie headquarters close to other key buildings such as Parliament and the General Staff headquarters, the suspects started to issue orders to regional commands, asking them to revolt against the government.
As civilians began to gather around the building, the coup soldiers started to fire on them, resulting in casualties. After Major General Arif Çetin arrived nearby with troops to put down the putsch, the plotters called for help from Akıncılar Air Base, where the coup leadership was based. Fighter jets that took off from the base strafed the area around the building, causing significant casualties.
The indictment also outlines the putschists' suspected treatment of those who were not with them. At 12:39 a.m. on July 16, Police Counterterrorism Department Director Turgut Arslan and two of his bodyguards who had been taken hostage earlier in the day were taken to a room on the second floor of the building. Putschist Colonel Erkan Öktem said: "No mercy. Anyone who talks, shoot him in the head." When Lieutenant Colonel Güven Şağban, who was also taken hostage, objected and told them that what they were doing was treason, Öktem tried to shoot him in the head. Şağban was saved only because Öktem's gun jammed. Later, Brigadier General Veli Turan was brought to the same room as a hostage. That night, Öktem shot Arslan, whose hands were tied behind his back, in the head, this time successfully. Arslan was in intensive care for five months, two months for treatment and had five brain surgeries before he was released from the hospital.
When Arslan complained about the handcuffs being too tight, putschist Captain Ramazan Karabulut ordered Arslan and his bodyguards' mouths taped up.
At around 2:00 a.m., with significant gunfire outside, Lieutenant Metin Yağcı came to the room and said: "Former president tall man [Recep Tayyip Erdoğan] talked on television and provoked the people. However, everything is still under control. We will shoot anyone that crosses the fence."
The indictment says that former Information and Communication Technologies Authority (BTK) Deputy Director Muharrem Çöl was the FETÖ imam in charge of gendarmerie officers. On the night of July 15, Çöl allegedly contacted several officers and a night before held a meeting in his home with several Gendarmerie officers. Of the suspects, 40 used the ByLock messaging app, which FETÖ members used.