The Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) has repeatedly attempted to overthrow the Turkish government and take over the state. Although the cult's efforts were definitively exposed as a result of the failed July 15 coup attempt, several major events in the years leading up to the coup attempt also took place that reveal the terrorist group's attempts to topple the government and take over the state.
One of the major steps FETÖ took to realize its aims took place on Feb. 7, 2012, when FETÖ-affiliated members of the judiciary tried to prosecute National Intelligence Organization (MİT) head Hakan Fidan and some other offıcers as part of an investigation related to the PKK's umbrella organization and administrative structure, the Kurdish Communities Union (KCK). Istanbul's specially authorized prosecutors, Sadrettin Sarıkaya and Bilal Bayraktar, who were considered to be followers of the Gülen Movement in the judiciary, issued court summons for Fidan for his supposed collaborations with the PKK terrorist organization.However, Fidan and the other suspects involved in the case did not cooperate with the prosecutor's orders after being instructed by then-Prime Minister and current President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan - who had planned a surgery on the court day but postponed it due to the incident - not to follow the issued order. A few months prior to this event, Fidan had come under the spotlight for a leaked tape that contained information regarding his meeting with some senior PKK leaders in Oslo, Norway. The meeting was part of the government's effort to find a solution to the decades-long conflict with the PKK.At the time, the ruling government had harshly criticized the prosecutor's move, later dismissing him from the case. Sarıkaya later fled the country on September 27, 2015 while under investigation as part of a FETÖ-linked case. After the incident, a law was passed which stipulated that MİT officials could only be investigated upon the permission of the prime minister.
Nearly a month-and-a-half after the MİT incident, on March 25, 2012, Erdoğan also proclaimed that prep schools owned by the FETÖ network and operating in Turkey, would be closed down. Although FETÖ followers initially did not show a strong reaction, when then-National Education Minister Nabi Avcı made it official that these schools would be closed down, FETÖ's reaction to the government's move became stronger.
This time, in a counterattack in response to the closing of the prep schools, FETÖ used its members of the judiciary to open a corruption case into some members of the Cabinet. Then, Istanbul Prosecutors Zekeriya Öz and Celal Kara, who are now fugitives who reportedly live in Germany, launched the investigation, which targeted a list of names for prosecution, including Erdoğan's son Bilal. The aim was to establish a corruption link through Bilal, which would then be linked to his father. This attempt was also unsuccessful, as the police did not follow the prosecutor's orders. The government's swift response prevented coup followers from carrying out their goal of taking over the state, and a comprehensive investigation was launched to tackle the danger posed by Gülenists in positions within the judiciary, the police force, and institutions in education, media, security and business.
After this incident, which the government considered to be a breaking point, efforts to stop FETÖ members who had infiltrated nearly all government institutions intensified. Eventually, this led to the Gülenists being listed as a national security threat after the recommendation of the National Security Council (MGK) on May 27, 2016. The government immediately implemented measures in response to the MGK's recommendation.