Fetullah Gülen is the leader of the terrorist group accused of carrying out the July 15, 2016 coup attempt in Turkey. However, for his followers, he is also a highly revered cult figure. The testimony of a former police officer linked to the leader's Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) revealed the group members' stomach-churning "worship" of the former preacher.
A visitor to Gülen's compound in Pennsylvania, identified only as N.Y. by prosecutors in the western city of İzmir where he was interrogated, said the people around Gülen went as far as "eating a paper napkin Gülen had wiped his mouth on after lunch."
"After Gülen drank most of the water from a glass, they would pour the rest into a bottle labeled 'zemzem' and proceed to drink it," he told prosecutors. "Zemzem," or "zamzam" in its original Arabic form, is the name given to water from a well in the holy city of Mecca and is considered sacred by Muslims.
"Arif Erdem used to drink the most of Gülen's leftover water out of all the followers," N.Y. added. Erdem, a Turkish football player who played for Turkey's Galatasaray and Spain's Real Sociedad, remains at large after he fled Turkey in the wake of an arrest warrant for his links to the terrorist group. The officer said Hidayet Karaca, head of a FETÖ-linked broadcaster, and Ali Ünal, a columnist for the terrorist group's mouthpiece Zaman newspaper, were among the other names he met in Gülen's compound.
Perhaps equally as disgusting as eating used napkins, N.Y. also told prosecutors that some followers of Gülen prized his used underwear, as well. "He used to change his shirts and underwear five or six times every day; every piece he took off would be given as gifts to visitors [to the compound]. I was given a shirt too. They would also hand out prayer rugs Gülen used to followers," he said.