German government remains silent about its official stance on FETÖ
by Daily Sabah
ANKARAFeb 03, 2020 - 6:35 pm GMT+3
by Daily Sabah
Feb 03, 2020 6:35 pm
The German Federal Government failed to respond to German MP Ulla Jelpke’s question on the stance of the government toward the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) in a Jan. 17 letter to Bundestag President Wolfgang Schäuble. The German secret services want to benefit from the intimate knowledge that this movement has gained through decades of infiltration of the Turkish state and monstrous illegal wiretapping, Jelpke stated last Tuesday. “It looks very much like that the federal government wants to keep the Gülen network to influence in post-Erdoğan Turkey warm. I find the political and financial support of the federal government for the House of One in Berlin more than irritating. In my view, the Gülen movement, with its participation in the House of One, primarily pursues the goal of polishing up its tarnished public image in order to distract from its undemocratic political agenda,” Jelpke elaborated further in a written statement. A disputed project launched jointly by the state of Berlin and the German government, House of One, plans to construct a building where Christians, Jews and Muslims can all pray together. The structure will be a combination of a church, synagogue and mosque. The project has a budget of 20 million euros and is expected to be completed by 2024. However, many Muslims in Germany do not welcome the project since a FETÖ-linked group named "Forum Dialogue," rather than a legitimate Muslim group, is representing the Muslim community.
Hundreds of FETÖ members fled to Germany after the coup attempt on the Turkish government that killed 251 people, although FETÖ-linked institutions there are careful to hide their affiliation with the terrorist group. Media reports say that there are about two dozen private schools and some 150 "tutoring centers" run by the terrorist group. An unknown number of unofficial dormitories also exist in big cities of Germany. FETÖ has disguised itself as a religious movement for a long time before it launched its first bid to seize power through a coup attempt in 2013 in Turkey, but it is still viewed as religious movement in Germany. It is apparently embraced by the German government which has been accused of turning a blind eye to FETÖ in the past by Ankara. Bruno Kahl, head of Germany's Federal Intelligence Service (BND), has even described it as a "civil organization" in a 2017 statement. The group has enjoyed a safe haven in the European country, especially for high-profile members like Zekeriya Öz and Celal Kara, two renowned prosecutors linked to the group. Both are wanted in Turkey for membership in a terrorist group, and the Turkish media had claimed that they were protected by German intelligence in an unknown location.
An unknown number of Gülenists, mostly high-ranking figures, fled Turkey when the coup attempt was thwarted. A large number of Gülenists had already left the country prior to the coup attempt after Turkish prosecutors launched investigations into other crimes of the terrorist group. Turkey also expects international cooperation regarding the issue as FETÖ attempts to continue its activities abroad. A limited number of countries have so far cooperated with Turkey over the extradition of FETÖ members.