The confessions of a former member of the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), the terrorist organization that was behind the July 15, 2016 coup attempt in Turkey, revealed the establishment of FETÖ’s police network in Ankara.
One of the confessors, identified as Ö.F. by security authorities, who performed various duties within the terrorist group since 2002, said that even though he tried to leave FETÖ, prominent members did not allow him to and threatened to harm his family members and friends.
Stressing that he got in touch with the group in 2002 when he moved into a dormitory that belonged to the group, Ö.F. said he later transferred to a FETÖ house on the instructions of the dormitory’s director. He was appointed as a public servant when he was in his senior year in university.
Ö.F. said that a person named Sami, who was working at the National Education Ministry, was giving sermons to police officers who stayed with him in the house. Later, Ö.F. was assigned to southeastern Gaziantep province and did not have contact with FETÖ members for nearly a year.
“After a while, a teacher named İrfan, who was on duty in Gaziantep, called me and expressed his wish to meet. When he came to my house, he offered to work together again, asking me to teach the Quran to police officers working in the Gaziantep riot police department. I accepted and start teaching to 15-person groups in their houses,” he said.
Ö.F. returned to Ankara in 2011 and was called again by İrfan, who asked him to meet with a car dealer in the Emek district of the capital. Ö.F. said there was another person in the car gallery, whose name was Vedat, and introduced himself as a handler in charge of police officers.
Noting that he communicated with other members of the terrorist organization via mobile apps including Bylock, Line, Telegram and Coverme, Ö.F. said they also used phones provided by senior members but refrained from holding explicit conversations. “We were not using names, addresses etc. during these calls. We were just conducting brief talks such as ‘I am near the market etc.,’” he said.
ByLock was discovered during criminal inquiries into the terrorist group, whose criminal activities have been under the spotlight since two coup attempts in 2013. The National Intelligence Organization (MİT) uncovered the messaging app apparently programmed or modified for the exclusive use of the group's members.
Ö.F. also revealed FETÖ’s instructions after the FETÖ-led Dec. 17-25, 2013 judicial operations, the so-called "corruption inquiry" which was a plot perpetrated by FETÖ to topple the democratically elected Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government.
“They instructed us to cast votes for any party except AK Party. They also told us to vote for FETÖ’s imprisoned police chiefs. Our President (Recep Tayyip Erdoğan) also started to be discredited,” he said.
Ö.F. said that despite that FETÖ’s U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gülen’s political sermons disturbed some disciples, prominent members told them that “it is necessary to respond to government’s propaganda and Gülen uses his right to answer.”
Gülen has lived in self-imposed exile in a secluded compound in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania since 1999.
Ö.F. said that he was warned along with two other people by Vedat not to express their critical opinions. Ö.F. later disclosed his desire to leave FETÖ, however, he was threatened by prominent members.
“Vedat came and asked me why I want to leave the organization. He tried to convince me for two hours. He told me that I cannot leave the organization because I know too many things. I think they tried to control me to not go to the police and give a testimony against the organization,” Ö.F. said.
FETÖ is accused of staging the July 15 coup attempt that tried to overthrow Turkey's democratically elected government and killed 251 people and injured nearly 2,200 others.
The terrorist group is also accused of using its infiltrators in the police and the judiciary to launch two other coup attempts on Dec. 17 and Dec. 25, 2013, under the guise of graft probes, in addition to sham trials launched against its adversaries using illegal or fake evidence and trumped-up charges.