15 July is the Democracy and National Unity Day in Turkey. This is in memory of the coup attempt of 15 July 2016 that was foiled by the united and spontaneous resistance by the people of Turkey.
The coup attempt was violent and deadly – The bombing and firing caused 250 deaths and left 2740 seriously injured, some of them disabled for life. F 16 jets, gunship helicopters, tanks, and other military hardware were used against the unarmed civilians.
The coup attempt was plotted by those who were members of the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO). The aim was to assassinate President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and replace both the constitutional order and parliamentary democracy with a military junta.
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Ambassador Mustafa Kapucu hosted two events to underline the extent of the influence of the FETO, the ruthlessness of the coup attempt, and the unity of the Turkish nation.
On 13 July 2018 he briefed the journalists accredited in Turkmenistan and on 15 July 2018 he addressed a gathering of the diplomats and Turkish community.
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Here is the speech of Ambassador Kapucu to the diplomats and the Turkish community:
Excellencies, esteemed guests – Today we ware commemorating our martyrs and veterans who thwarted the coup attempt of the Fethullahist Terror Organization (FETO) on 15 July 2016; as well as seizing this moment to understand the meaning of our Democracy and National Unity Day.
The scene that Turkey woke up to on the morning of 16 July was tragic. What occurred was a night of terror under the wrath of helicopter gunships, tanks and F-16 jets.
This bloody coup attempt has been the greatest national trauma that Turkey has witnessed since the establishment of the Republic of Turkey. The events resulted in the death of 251 people and left over 2740 injured.
On 15 July 2016,
The Parliament was bombed by F-16s while in session to resist the coup.
Police and public buildings were attacked by helicopters.
People in the streets who protested against the coup to protect the democracy were shot.
A whole nation resisted to heavily armed plotters and with the help of the overwhelming majority of the military and police forces, the coup attempt was foiled in less than 24 hours.
Fetullah Gulen, leader of FETO, was the mastermind behind what happened in Turkey on 15 July. Two years long investigations and judicial process on the events of the 16 July have produced countless crucial evidence.
The crimes committed on the night of 15 July can be considered as the tip of the iceberg. To understand why Fetullah Gulen and FETO have become number one enemy in Turkey, you will need to understand the enormity of their actions and the resulting trauma that the Turkish nation has experienced.
It all started under the guise of a charitable education effort. I would like to emphasize this aspect because that is exactly what this organization is up to in many countries.
They disguised themselves as a benign education movement, when they started the campaign of establishing schools in Turkey and later around the world. But, we now understand that this was the first step of an infiltration campaign where kids and their parents were recruited with the seemingly innocent promises of better education and a good job.
These kids were put through school with academic and financial help and mainly a heavy hand in indoctrination. They turned into unquestioning foot soldiers of Fetullah Gulen.
The coup attempt proved beyond doubt that the FETO had not only infiltrated key positions in the army, but they were on the verge of completely seizing the top ranks in civil bureaucracy, the judiciary, and some NGOs in order to expand their influence over the entire Turkish society.
They were provided with the answers to entrance exams for prominent schools and later for prestigious government jobs. They were ordered to stay hidden and to infiltrate state institutions. They were told that to achieve their main goal of capturing the state, they could eschew all ethical, religious and personal beliefs.
Their handlers kept their indoctrination up-to-date and passed on the instructions of their leader. As civil servants or military personnel, their loyalty was not to the nation or the state they served.
They did not care about upholding the constitution or the legal system of the country. The crime syndicate behind all this devised and ran an integrated system that took care of recruitment through schools and cram schools; financing was taken care of by holding companies and donations from business people.
As the organization grew stronger and became more affluent it started meddling in the business transactions, government tender processes. Laundering enormous sums of money, arranging illegal transfers of cash and other financial crimes became business as usual.
When the Turkish Government finally understood what was actually taking place, FETO started taking drastic and extreme actions. The first wave of these actions came in December 2013, where the organization released a number of so-called recordings and fabricated material. That attack proved inconclusive and provided the wake-up call both the government and the public.
Upon discovering their secret communication system (ByLock, Eagle, Tango etc.) and interception of instructions, we started to counter their moves and discover the extent of the infiltration and the infection it caused.
15 July happened at a time when the Turkish armed forces and listed most of the so-called military personnel who were actually recruits of the organization and was getting ready to expel them.
15 July was a desperate move to keep their control in place and capture the state, which they were aiming to do through infiltration. Despite the fact that we define it as a coup attempt, this was no ordinary coup. In none of the coups or coup attempts in the past did we have the putchists opening fire on the civilians, let alone bombing of the parliament, the presidential complex or the police headquarters.
FETO established itself in around 160 countries with thousands of schools and businesses. Their actions in Turkey should be considered as a wake-up call for other countries. We are pleased to note ever-increasing awareness on part of our partners regarding the security threat posed by FETO. In may regions FETO schools and other entities have been already closed or closely inspected and put under state control.
Investigations into FETO structures and FETO operatives are under way in many countries. Global crime apparatus of this organization is shrinking.
I want to point out once more that 15 July was an unprecedented, gravest and bloodiest terror act against Turkey.
The success of the Turkish people’s resistance in the face of the military coup stands as a unique example in the history.
The Turkish people underscored that only the governments taking office through the democratic processes and the will of the nation would rule Turkey.
I would like to seize this opportunity to thank the esteemed President of Turkmenistan and the Government of Turkmenistan for their strong support they provided us during the course of these events. Thank you for your attention and sharing this moment with us.
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On 13 July 2018, the Turkish ambassador met a group of journalists accredited in Turkmenistan and answered their questions. The Turkish embassy provided some explanatory graphics.
Here is the content:
Question – How did the coup process start?
Answer – T he attempts of the FETO to overthrow Turkey’s legitimate government by illegal means began in 2012. The head of National Intelligence Organization (MİT), Hakan Fidan, was summoned to court on 7 February of that year along with two other colleagues.
This was the first move by the FETO members within the judicial system and police against Turkey’s democratically elected government. Upon the orders of then Prime Minister Erdoğan, Fidan had been involved in discussions to bring closure to Turkey’s Kurdish issue. This was an opportunity for FETO to accuse Fidan of being a member of a terrorist organization. Erdoğan issued a directive for Fidan not to give a statement to the court. This was both an attempt to sabotage solution of the Kurdish issue and to bring the National Intelligence Organization under the authority of the FETO.
The FETO also played a central role in the 2013 Gezi Incidents which began as a protest relating to city planning but later became an attempt to overthrow the government. It was later uncovered that FETO elements within the police force ordered police officers to use violence against protesters which provoked the incidents.
The inability of both of these activities to shake the Turkish government resulted in the Gülenists upping the stakes. In December 2013, again by the use of illegal methods, the FETO sought to undermine the legitimacy of the government with allegations of corruption. Their preferred method was the use of anonymous letters to the police which detailed alleged criminal behaviour and the illegal wiretapping of government officials to be shared with the public. To implement their plans, they utilised their own members within the police and judicial bodies. All of this pointed to an attempted coup. This view was even shared outside of governing party circles as individuals such as the former Chief of General Staff İlker Başbuğ referred to the December 2013 as coup attempt.
The coup attempt of 15 July was to be the last salvo in a litany of attempts by the FETO to overthrow the government. The FETO was in the process of slowly being removed from positions in state institutions, the last being the army. It was for this reason that the the terrorist organization decided to act before they were successfully discharged from the army – thus ending further opportunities for them to overthrow the government.
Question – What happened on the night of 15 July?
Answer – The Presidential Complex was bombed three times by F-16 fighter jets. Civilians in front of the complex were targeted. Twenty-nine civilians were killed by putschist soldiers.
The parliament was bombed eleven times by F-16 fighter jets. Members of the parliament were forced to seek shelter in the basement. Police officers and parliamentary staff were wounded.
The Bosporus Bridge was closed to traffic by three tanks and trucks. Thirty civilians were killed by putschist soldiers on the bridge.
With the intention of assassinating President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the hotel where he was staying was attacked by twenty-nine putschist soldiers. The hotel was bombed from the air by helicopter, resulting in the killing of two police officers.
Putschist soldiers also attempted to seize President Erdoğan’s Istanbul home and blocked off the roads leading to it.
The Police Special Operations headquarters in Ankara was bombed by F-16s, resulting in the killing of fifty-six people.
Question – How many soldiers participated in the coup attempt? Military hardware and ammunition used?
Question – Who was behind the coup attempt?
Answer – The infiltration of FETO into the Turkish Armed Forces stretches back over forty years and has been documented numerous times by senior soldiers. After the designation of FETO as a terrorist organization in 2014, the government adopted a strategy of tackling the organization as a matter of national security. Consequently, the military developed a strategy to remove FETO-linked officers from the ranks. The biggest blow to FETO soldiers was intended to be the Military Council (YAŞ) meeting of August 2016 which had planned to formalise more discharges. This spurred FETO-linked officers to stage a coup less than a month before they were expected to be discharged.
A poll conducted by research companies indicate that 88.2% of the Turkish people believe that FETO was behind the coup. It should be noted that international observers and foreign diplomats are of the same opinion. James Jeffrey, former US ambassador to Turkey, remarked that only the Gülenists could have been behind the coup. European Parliament rapporteur Kati Piri also noted that she had no doubts that FETO members were behind the coup.
Some evidence of FETO involvement
The connection of putschist soldiers to the FETO and their statements to authorities confirming their relationship with the organization: Plotters like Fatih Celaleddin Sağır, Levent Türkkan, Erdal Karlıdağ, Zekeriya Kuzu not only confessed to their affiliation with the FETO, but also pointed out that other putschists are members of the organization. One of the soldiers involved in the assassination attempt on President Erdoğan was carrying a prayerbook of Fetullah Gülen on his person. Other suspected FETO soldiers’ wives were also under investigation for facilitating cheating in civil service examinations.
Police officers wanted as part of the investigations into the FETO also took part in the coup attempt. This was confirmed by messages saved on the arrested officers’ mobile phones.
As the coup unfolded, senior FETO-linked officers at the rank of general attempted to force Chief of Staff Hulusi Akar to communicate with “our leader Fetullah Gülen” via telephone.
Question – What sort of organization is FETO?
Answer – Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) is an armed cult of fanatics led by the retired imam Fetullah Gülen. Gülen has been on the Ministry of Interior’s ‘most wanted terrorist’ list since 28 October 2015 as the alleged leader of the Fetullah Terrorist Organization and Parallel State Structure (PSS). The FETO is an extensive organization with huge investments in education, media and economic interests in a particularly successful in the west, does not negate Gülen’s own radical views as expressed in his sermons: Gülen has previously referred to the USA as a ‘relentless enemy’ and made numerous anti-Semitic statements. Moreover, Gülen is known to legitimatize violence against women.
Question – What about criminal activities of FETO?
Answer –Fetullah Gülen is currently being tried in 55 separate court cases as prime suspect. The investigations of the public prosecutor have revealed that under the cover of FETO’s public organizations relating to community service and tolerance lies an illegal organization which has divulged state secrets for political and military purposes, disregarded the right to privacy, forged documents, organised conspiracies against innocent individuals and has been involved money laundering. Here are some examples of FETO’s criminal activities:
Question – How the democracy was saved?
Answer – Despite the fact that the 15 July coup was planned down to the intricate details, there are two key of factors which prevented the successful conclusion of the coup. One of these was the fact that FETO members within the military began the coup two hours earlier than planned because they suspected that the National Intelligence Organization and Chief of General Staff had become aware that something was happening. The second factor was the Turkish people who took to the streets upon President Erdoğan’s call. But what made hundreds of thousands of people take to the streets and who were they?
Question – Was the Turkish nation united against the coup attempt?
Answer –After the attempted coup, President Erdoğan, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım, Republican People’s Party leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, Nationalist Movement Party leader Devlet Bahçeli came together in a mass rally on 7 August. This meeting was a historic expression of national resolve and the first case in which all parties came together in a political meeting for a common cause. Over 3 million people from all political backgrounds attended this demonstration which makes it the biggest rally in the history of Turkey.
Turkey’s religious leaders were all united in their condemnation of FETO’s coup attempt. A joint statement was released on behalf of the head of the Presidency of Religious Affairs Görmez,
Istanbul Greek Patriarch Bartholomew I, Chief Rabbi of Turkish Jews Haleva, acting-head of the Turkish Armenian community Ateşyan and other religious denominations. In a separate statement, the leadership of the Turkish Jewish community stated that “We condemn all coup attempts which seek to strangle the hopes of democracy and the rule of law.” Likewise, prayers were held in Turkish synagogues for the civilians who died resisting the coup attempt. The head of Turkey’s Alevi community organization noted “We must consign all pro-coup mentalities and all coups to history.”
Question – Why is the government removing people from public employment?
Answer – F ETO has been following a strategy of infiltration into the state for forty years. They carry this out under the guise of running schools, cultural centres and civil society organizations. The organization has constructed a parallel structure, in essence a deep state, within the state machinery. They further use this structure to get rid of their opponents or anyone who constitutes a threat to their organization. Cables, dated 7 April 2005 and divulged by Wikileaks, show the U.S. Department of State also confirmed this situation. The note reads: “The Gulen movement has also infiltrated hundreds of adherents into the national police, judiciary, and Sayistay (GAO equivalent) and also has made inroads into the AKP government. Another Wikileaks document note that all indicators pointed to the successful infiltration of the Turkish Army by FETO members, that the army wanted to remove FETO members from the ranks and that many Kemalists and academics were claiming that the police had been taken over entirely by the FETO.
Since the year 2014, the government has attempted to clean the state of FETO members. However, the coup of 15 July 2016 showed how strong the FETO still was within the state machinery. The various factions of the organization, with arms in the state, army, business and academia were all acting in co-operation with each other. It is revealing that the FETO member responsible for the organization within the armed forces was academic Adil Öksüz of Sakarya University.
Furthermore, there is an exam requirement for those who want to work as a civil servant in Turkey. The FETO has been involved in a scheme to steal the answer keys of the public personnel selection examination (KPSS). These answers were then given to its members to be selected in a higher critical government position.
“The Following” an American television drama series, might be a good example to understand the structure of the FETO. The drama is about a psychopathic English professor, who mobilizes his cultlike followers to help him with his deadly objectives and achieve his ultimate goal.
Question – Is the removal of civil servants against the law?
Answer – No. However, objections to dismissal from public service are examined by public bodies. Individuals who believe they have been wrongfully dismissed can apply to crisis centres which exist in every province. Among those people, who had applied to crises centres and claimed that they had been wrongfully dismissed, some were reappointed to their original posts after investigations exonerated them. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had also called on public bodies to be careful about the dismissals and stick to rule of law during this process.
The state of emergency is entirely constitutional and has been declared in accordance with the law including the European Convention on Human Rights.
Here one needs to note that the Turkish government has been identifying FETO members within state institutions since 2014. Turkey paid a very heavy price for not expelling these individuals. More than 10,000 public employees participated in the coup attempt, which makes the most compelling case for the need of these dismissals.
Question – Has Turkey asked the USA for the extradition of Gulen?
Answer –Yes. The Turkish government has submitted eighty-four boxes of evidence to the United States government relating to Gülen’s nefarious activities. The leaders of the opposition parties have also called for Gülen to be returned to Turkey for trial. In principle, the 1979 extradition treaty between the US and Turkey stipulates that “any offense committed or attempted against a Head of State or a Head of Government or against a member of their families shall not be deemed to be an offense of a political character”, thus entailing extradition. Not only the crimes committed during the coup attempt process, but also the putschists’ attempt to assasinate President Erdoğan require the US to extradite Gülen.
Fetullah Gülen is still giving orders and in fact threatening politicians in Turkey through his video speeches. After the coup attempt, he called the sleeping cells of his network to become active and threatened to execute Turkish politicians. /// nCa, 16 July 2018