Osman Hilmi Özdil, referred to as "the police imam of the Gülen movement", had the names of the Ergenekon (a supposed secularist clandestine organization) suspects copied on his notebook, before even an investigation was launched into the organization, reported Al Jazeera in a news report published on Tuesday.
The FBI allegedly took hold of Özdil's notebook when he was arrested at the U.S. border in 2007, during one of his trips to visit Fethullah Gülen, who lives in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania. Özdil's notebook was later in 2014 sent to the prosecutors in Turkey looking into alleged illegal activities of the Gülen Movement. Within the scope of this investigation, Al Jazeera reports that the aforementioned book included names of the people detained under the Ergenekon operation, which would however start two weeks later.
The Ergenekon trial -- an alleged network of prominent figures accused of overthrowing the government -- saw hundreds of suspects, including military officers, journalists and businesspeople, imprisoned on charges of forming a terrorist organization.
Suspects, held in pre-trial detention for years without tangible evidence, were released last year after legal amendments limited such detentions.
Many reports claimed that the trial was reportedly the joint work of infiltrators of the controversial Gülen Movement in the judiciary and police, conducted to stifle opposition to the ubiquitous group that evolved into a politically motivated juggernaut from a simple religious congregation. The lead prosecutor in the Ergenekon case, Zekeriya Öz, who fled Turkey in August, is also believed to be affiliated with Fethulah Gülen.
Another Gülen-affiliated name, Osman Hilmi Özdil, first appeared in a book called, "Simons living in Golden Horn," written by Hanefi Avcı, a well-known former intelligence officer and police chief. Avcı depicted Özdil's ties with various state organizations and the Gülen Movement in his book.
Among Avcı's claims was one that involved Özdil's arrest at the U.S. border in 2007, during one of his trips to Pennsylvania. According to Avcı' book, the FBI took Özdil's personal belongings such as his notebook, laptop, and copied the information inside, including powerful names of the Gülen Movement.
In 2014, within the scope of an investigation scrutinizing the activities of the Gülen Movement, the FBI sent a copy of Özdil's notebook to prosecutors in Turkey. Some of the names included in the notebook were the same names as those detained within the scope of the Ergenekon trial in 2007. However, since the suspects were detained two months after the FBI's confiscation of the notebook, many questions have arised again as to the role of the Gülen Movement in the Ergenekon case.
The aforementioned names included in Özdil's notebook, were put down on the 629th page of the indictment prepared by the public prosecutor as part of the Ergenekon trial, Al Jazeera reported. These names were: Ümit Sayın, Şener Eruygur, Mustafa Balbay, Kemal Kerinçsiz, Sevgi Erenerol, Emin Şirin Kemal Yavuz ve Taner Ünal.
Activities and operations of the Gülen Movement in the U.S. and Turkey have been scrutinized by a number of American media outlets that question the movement's motives, opacity and why the U.S. government is providing refuge to Fethullah Gülen, who is currently facing numerous charges including treason and extradition.
The movement, led by Fethullah Gülen who lives in self-imposed exile in the U.S. is accused of wiretapping thousands of people including government officials and encrypted phones. It has been accused of infiltrating state institutions in Turkey and trying to overthrow the government. Referred to as the Gülenist Terror Organization (FETÖ), the movement is seen as a threat against Turkey's national security. Government officials have continuously expressed their determination to continue to lawfully fight the Gülen Movement, whose followers are accused of infiltrating state institutions to gain control of state mechanisms and illegal wiretapping, forgery of official documents and espionage.
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