The Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), which orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, and infiltrated state-linked institutions, has built intelligence networks in Europe and other parts of the globe to actualize its aspirations, according to a former affiliate of the outlawed group.
In a joint news report issued by Germany's Tagesschau news website and SWR radio channel, Polat, who parted ways with FETÖ in 2016 after 12 years within the terrorist group, shared his experience and views on its operational structure.
"We have had a hidden agenda, we have established a surveillance system used in a very systematic and planned manner," he said and noted that the unit he was part of, named "Special Service" and made up of U.S.-based FETÖ ringleader Fetullah Gülen loyalists, infiltrated key Turkish institutions.
"My job was to meet with the army (members), take care of them, listen to their concerns and pay regular visits. It was sort of a religious leadership," he said. "We are talking about a body operating based on classical secret service methods," he said when asked about his unit.
The affiliates of this secretive group quickly abandoned Turkey and now freely roam in European countries, including Germany, exploiting the values of democratic societies, according to Polat.
Gunter Seufert, the head of the Turkey research group at the Berlin-based Science and Politics Foundation, was quoted in a news piece as saying that there were a number of indications that FETÖ was the organization behind the coup of 2016, which left over 250 people dead and thousands of others wounded.
The piece also referred to another former FETÖ affiliate, Önder Aytaç, one of the senior members of the group residing in Germany since 2019 after fleeing Turkey.
According to the report, Aytaç expressed his concern regarding possible FETÖ secret units' operations in Germany.
"The supporters (of FETÖ) built these structures not only in Germany but also in Europe and other parts of the world and they keep trying to run them," he was quoted as saying.
Aytaç estimates that the secretive special service units of the outlawed group make up 5% of the organizational structure, the report noted.
The organization, referred to as the "Gülen Movement" in the report, was said to expand its network all the way to Germany by the late 1980s and now had some 150,000 sympathizers there, running some 300 foundations and associations, 22 schools and about 3,000 companies and various news portals.
The reporters, for their part, said the people they contacted in Germany complained about the stern sexual discrimination, cult-like personality and controlling activities in FETÖ-linked facilities.
Lastly, those who contacted SWR called on the German community to remain vigilant regarding the group.
FETÖ orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, in Turkey, in which 251 people were killed and 2,734 injured. It was also behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary.