Report sheds light on FETÖ's military 'imams'

YÜKSEL TEMEL
Published 23.08.2019 00:08

A police report has uncovered that "imams" or handlers for the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) had free rein in controlling the group's infiltrators in the Turkish military.

They answered only to Fetullah Gülen himself and had unlimited authority to spend cash donated by followers.

FETÖ is accused of carrying out the coup attempt on July 15, 2016, that killed 251 people. It faces charges of employing its military infiltrators for the thwarted coup attempt. Military infiltrators, from noncommissioned officers to generals, were following the orders of FETÖ handlers, known as "imams." The report says handlers were assigned for each branch of the military, including land, air, naval and gendarme forces.

The report also revealed that handlers themselves were under the direct control of FETÖ leader Fetullah Gülen, who currently resides in Pennsylvania, U.S., and carried out his instructions.

Using "himmet," the name given to mandatory donations made by every Gülen follower for "charity work," they had a large amount of cash at their disposal. Thousands of military officers linked to the terrorist group donated every month to FETÖ.

The report says the imams' primary duty was to recruit as many followers as possible for the group's military network and protect the FETÖ-linked officers and help get them promoted through the ranks. Thanks to its widespread clout in the army, as a result of decades-long infiltration, the terrorist group was able to create an even larger network by the dismissal of non-FETÖ army members through sham investigations. Top FETÖ handlers for the group's military infiltrators, including Kemal Batmaz and Harun Biniş, were arrested following the 2016 coup attempt. Both men were caught at Ankara's Akıncı Air Base, which was used as the command center for the coup attempt.

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