In the wake of the July 15 failed coup attempt perpetrated by a junta embedded within the Turkish Armed Forces, many Western skeptics failed to get a grasp on reality; they ignored that the top brass of the coup stagers had some definite links to the Gülenist Terror Organization / Parallel State Structure (FETÖ/PDY) run by a fugitive preacher living in rural Pennsylvania.
After the leader of the organization, Fetullah Gülen, was visited by reporters from major news networks, the expected response was quick to come. Completely denying his role in the coup attempt, the most famous dweller of Saylorsburg bluffed, saying that he would accept the verdict of an international commission to be founded for the investigation of the incident.
Nevertheless, his background is full of obedience to power holders, be it an illegitimate coup administration or a democratically elected government. Gülen has always acted pragmatically and sided with whoever had the power to rule, just to make his criminal network grow.
The ex-imam living in a 400-acre compound in the foothills of the Poconos mountains, "condemned" the attempt and openly lied about his background, saying that he is someone who suffered the most from coups. But the reality is the exact opposite.
In the wake of the bloody 1980 coup led by the Chief of General Staff Kenan Evren who toppled the coalition government of center-right leader Süleyman Demirel, Gülen penned an editorial for the organization's Sızıntı (Leak) magazine in which he wholeheartedly praised the brutal overthrow.
Upon the coup d'état, a state of emergency was declared in Turkey, thousands were unlawfully detained and even tortured to death, the constitution was suspended and political parties were closed while their leaders were questioned, prosecuted and imprisoned.
The famous issue of Hürriyet daily declaring the military overthrow of the government
In the editorial meaningfully named "The Last Outpost," Gülen openly praised the coup.
"This is a victory by which the enemy is captured, the body [the government] is cleansed of viruses and has returned to its roots," he said in the article, implying that the military intervention somehow helped Turkey "protect its democracy."
"A deeper move was needed to eliminate the cancer the body was suffering," he added.
"And now, in delight and hope, we consider this last awakening a signal of the existence of the last outpost. It is our wish that the Mehmetçik [a nickname given to Turkish soldiers] who have come as a godsend, work their way through this transformation and succeed," he concluded in the article.
Yes, there was a metamorphosis in the country, but in a very negative way.
After the coup, over 230,000 people were tried in 210,000 military tribunals and 517 received the death penalty. Moreover, the citizenships of 14,000 people were revoked.
Coup leader Kenan Evren (C) and commanders-in-chief of the armed forces
During the military rule, 171 people died as a result of torture during interrogation while 30,000 people were dismissed from their duties as newspapers could not publish for 300 days. Additionally, over a million people were blacklisted and 98,404 people were tried on charges of being members of leftist, rightist, nationalist or conservative organizations or movements.
In a 2005 interview to Milliyet daily, Gülen also said that coup leader Kenan Evren can "go to heaven" for making religious education in primary and high schools compulsory.
Another military intervention to Turkish politics was the "postmodern coup" of February 28, 1997 when Gülen once again took center stage during the hard days the nation was going through.
"You have failed, now quit", "The military is more democrat [than politicians and civilians]." These were the remarks of Gülen, made headlines by major newspapers back then.
Newspapers from the postmodern coup period with headlines reading: "You have failed, now quit," "Gülen: Government should quit," "Gülen also warned," "Military is more democrat."
The February 28 ultimatum of the military targeting the democratically elected coalition government of conservative leader Necmettin Erbakan ushered an era of repression and coercion for the conservative majority in Turkey, with women wearing headscarves denied their right to education. Despite the leaders of the so-called 'post-modern coup' believing that the Islamophobic system they imposed would "last a thousand years," it collapsed due to its own internal contradictions.
On Feb. 4, 1997, 20 tanks and 15 armored vehicles passed through the streets of Sincan, Ankara in a clear warning against the government.
Gülen, the so-called "imam" and "preacher" openly commended the intervention that led to the biggest oppression the conservative society in Turkey has ever faced. Regarding the headscarf ban, he said that the obligation for women to wear a headscarf is among the "nonessentials" of the religion, distorting the religious law for his network's sake.
On February 28, 1997, the National Security Council convened and called on the government to comply with laws ensuring the secular nature of the state. This was followed by a lawsuit against the Welfare Party (RP) in which Chief Prosecutor Vural Savaş demanded the closure of the party. In the face of these developments, Erbakan resigned from his post in June 1997.
A small military junta linked to the FETÖ/PDY launched a coup attempt on July 15, ultimately failing with military troops loyal to the government, along with police units and millions of unarmed Turkish citizens quelling it.
Many top figures of the coup attempt have confessed to having links to the organization.
Lieutenant Colonel Levent Türkkan, the aide of the Chief of General Staff Hulusi Akar, who was detained under the scope of the failed coup attempt, confessed that he is a member of the FETÖ/PDY, which he said was behind the deadly July 15 coup attempt.
In this file photo, Lt. Cl. Levent Türkkan is pictured beside Turkey's Chief of Staff Hulusi Akar
According to testimony records, Lt. Cl. Türkkan actively participated in the coup attempt, which was carried out by FETÖ/PDY members within the military.
He said that Major General Mehmet Dişli, who also took part in the coup attempt, is a member of the FETÖ/PDY.
"On July 15, I went to Major Gen. Mehmet Dişli's room, he is a Gülenist too. He told us that he would ask Chief of General Staff Akar if he would like to be 'Kenan Evren or not," Türkkan said, and added that Dişli expected Akar to accept the offer. He continued by saying that Akar and other force commanders declined.
At least 2,839 pro-coup members of the military, including 29 colonels and over 40 generals, have been detained across Turkey.
Turkey's top judicial body HSYK also ordered the detention of 2,745 Gülen-linked judges and prosecutors on Saturday while two members of the Constitutional Court were detained for involvement in the coup attempt.