Testimony from a secret witness who was a former member of the Gülenist terror cult shows the group assured its followers that it would topple the government with 'sleeper cells in the military' months before Turkey was rocked by a putsch attempt
Statementsby a secret witness who is a former member of the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) during an investigation in 2015 have revealed that the terrorist group was counting on its members in the Turkish Armed Forces to overthrow the government months before they actually tried to seize the power on July 15 this year. The statement, published by the Anadolu Agency Sunday, shows the chilling confidence of Gülenists regarding the coup that killed more than 240 people.
FETÖ, which emerged as a rising threat with its broad influence throughout the state in recent years, had tried to overthrow the government twice in 2013 with its infiltrators within the judiciary and police. Although the government managed to shake off the attempts and authorities arrested thousands in the wake of the 2013 attempts, the coup attempt by the Gülenist junta a few months ago has shown the terror cult was still influential in Turkey.
The secret witness who was questioned by prosecutors in Istanbul on Nov. 25, 2015, detailed how the terror cult held secret meetings for their agenda to gain control across Turkey and the coup plot. The witness is identified as one of senior figures in the cult and he joined while he was a university student. After working as a teacher in Turkey, he took a job with a school abroad linked to FETÖ and rose to the higher ranks in the terrorist group.
He said "imams" or point men of Fethullah Gülen often held secret meetings in Turkey, the United States (where FETÖ's leader resides) and sometimes in other countries where the terror cult has schools and companies.
After the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) secured victory in November 2015 elections, the imams gathered again. The secret witness said, "We were told about 'secret' members of the group still working in the state agencies and how they kept their posts by posing as staunch opponents of [FETÖ]. The imams advised everyone to keep secret about their membership and show themselves as opponents of [FETÖ]. In another meeting, they told us not to be 'hopeless.' They told us: 'We have sleeper cells in the army. When the time and place is right, they will take action. Yezid [the name Gülenists give to the President] will be toppled by our members when he feels he is stronger than us. But this will be the last option.'" He said they were told to mention the presence of"sleeper cells" to those in the lower ranks to boost the morale of FETÖ members who faced an increased crackdown by authorities which designated the group as a "national threat."
The secret witness also told the interrogators that Gülenists in Turkey decided to transfer wealth they controlled in Turkey abroad in 2015 and started transfers to Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and some African countries, using the accounts of students. "They guessed that Turkey would seize Kaynak Holding one of the largest business conglomerates in Turkey [linked to FETÖ] and were trying not to leave anything behind," he said. Kaynak Holding eventually had trustees appointed by a court order for its links to the terror cult last year.
He also spoke about Gülenists' preparations for two coup attempts in 2013. A few months before Gülenist prosecutors, judges and police chiefs launched operations to round up people close to the government in two so-called graft probes, senior figures from the terror cult gathered in Istanbul at the headquarters of TUSKON, a business association. "The association's secretary-general Mustafa Günay said the government opposed [FETÖ] and would eliminate it. He said we should be cautious. They then showed us a video message of Fethullah Gülen and he told the audience "troubling days are ahead." Then, Naci Tosun [former CEO of Kaynak Holding] spoke. He said Gülen advised his followers to be careful during the'transition period.' "He said there would be an administrative vacuum and we should distance ourselves from anyone trying to join [FETÖ],"the secret witness said.
Gülen also told his followers abroad to cut off their dependence to Turkey for financial resources ahead of the coup attempts. "He said although the cemaat [congregation - the name used by some followers of the terror cult to describe it] would leave Turkey soon, it would 'conquer it again,'" the secret witness said in his testimony.