FETÖ's 2015 messages a harbinger of deadly coup attempt

FETÖ's 2015 messages a harbinger of deadly coup attempt

Messages dating back to 2015 recently discovered by the authorities reveal that the sinister plot by FETÖ to seize power was hatched at least one year before it attempted a coup, which killed 249 people on July 15, 2016.

"Tarzan is cornered this time. The vine is slippery this time," a cryptic message sent by Cihan Kansız reads. It is only after reading the following messages investigators found out that the sender was talking about President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The other messages had a more direct and chilling tone and were hinting at a coup attempt that would take place one year after the messages were sent.

Cihan Kansız is a fugitive former prosecutor linked to the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), which is blamed for the July 15, 2016 coup attempt that killed 249 people across Turkey. He was relaying the messages to a fellow FETÖ member, Mehmet Karababa, another former prosecutor linked to the group. The messages sent via Bylock in 2015, an encrypted messaging app exclusively used - believed to have been developed by FETÖ's engineers - were unearthed by investigators only recently. The authorities are working to decipher the millions of messages, mostly dating to 2015, after Bylock was discovered shortly before the terrorist group sought to seize power in the summer of 2016 through its infiltrators in the military.

"The nation should be tested by anything, economic depression, unemployment, poverty or survival instinct. He [Fetullah Gülen] says the process will end by the end of summer. We should pray and wait now. Things can change all of a sudden one night. There may be a surprise," a message by Kansız says, clearly referring to the coup attempt.

In another message, Kansız instructs fellow FETÖ members on how to seek asylum in Europe. European countries have become the favorite destination of those associated with the terrorist group. "We introduce ourselves as people mistreated by the political authority in Turkey and as people telling their situation to our European counterparts," Kansız says in a message. Though this advice was from a 2015 correspondence, it apparently worked for the group's members after the coup attempt as well. Germany, for instance, granted asylum to more than 250 people Turkey sought to capture for links to the terrorist group.

Among other crimes, FETÖ and its leader Fetullah Gülen are the prime suspects in a 2016 coup bid that killed 249 people in Turkey. Before and after the coup attempt, many Gülenists fled abroad to Europe, the U.S. and other countries across the globe amid a crackdown on the terrorist group.

Cihan Kansız is among the prosecutors and judges linked to the group wanted on a string of charges such as membership of a terrorist group, forgery of evidence and masterminding sham trials. He was implicated in a case which he and other members of the group sought to imprison those they saw hostile to FETÖ. The former prosecutor has sought the arrest of İlker Başbuğ, a former army chief, on trumped-up charges.

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