Who Was Behind The 15th July Coup In Turkey?

50 min readMar 21, 2017


Proof, documents, photographs, videos

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The first failed coup attempt in Turkey, after four ‘successful’ ones, happened on 22nd February 1962. In the elections held a month after the hanging of Prime Minister Adnan Menderes, the political parties that were a continuation of the political party he was head of, the Democrat Party won the majority. These results troubled a radical Kemalist group and Military Academy Commander Talat Aydemir attempted a coup. The coup was suppressed with difficulty; Captain Aydemir was told to resign and then duly pardoned. However the captain tried to organize a coup again a year later on 21st May 1963. There were clashes in front of the Parliament in Ankara, jets bombed the Military Academy. Talat Aydemir and the putschists surrendered. This time, the captain was brought to court. He was sentenced to death. At his trial he said: “If you set me free today, I’d organize a coup again”

53 years later, on the night of 15th July 2016, Turkey experienced yet another coup attempt.

The night of 15th July 2016 has entered the annals of the Turkish Republic as the night of the bloodiest coup, and the first coup that was stopped by the resistance of the people.

246 people lost their lives as they resisted the putschists, over 2000 people were injured. Democracy vigils were held for 26 days in Turkey’s squares.

Video 1: What happened on the night of 15th July 2016?

However the putschists of 15th July were not able to do what the putschists of 53 years ago had been able to do. Even the high ranking generals who were caught red handed during the coup did not stand behind what they had done; they prefered to deny involvement in the coup.

That is why we have no information about the motivations and goals of the 15th July coup plotters except for a declaration read in the name of Peace at Home Council on the state channel and some audio recordings from the night.

However, they left a body of evidence and finger prints as they fled when the coup was defeated.

I- Evidence that was left in the crime scene

Adil Öksüz, was an assistant professor at the Theology Faculty in a small university in Sakarya, a town 150 km away from Istanbul.

Photo 1: Adil Oksuz (at the bottom right) with Gulenist football players in İstanbul, 1994

He had gone abroad 109 times in the period 2002–2016. That is every 45 days.

In the last 25 months he had gone abroad 12 times. That is every other month. His schedule seemed to be very hectic.

He flew to NYC from Istanbul on 26th May 2015 and returned on 18th June. Eight days later he flew to Johannesburg from Istanbul, stayed three days and flew back. On 16th September he flew to South Africa again and from there to the US, and nine days later he came back to Turkey. On 15th October 2015 he flew to Kuwait. He went to Germany on 23rd October. In 2016 he flew frequently to the US. On 17th March he flew to NYC, and stayed only four days. On 20th June he flew to JFK airport again, stayed four days, and returned.

Why and how could this theology assistant professor who had no academic output other than the doctoral thesis he had written in 2003, whose whole family lived in Turkey, and whose salary was around 1500 dollars go to the US so frequently? The answer to this question is in this video and photographs.

Photo 2:Adil Öksüz (in black suit) in the 90’s when Fethullah Gülen was in Turkey.
Photo 3: Adil Öksüz at the Fethullah Gülen conference in Albania, 2012.
Photo 4: Adil Öksüz on one of his visits to Fethullah Gülen in Pennsylvania.
Video 2: Adil Öksüz on one of his visits to Fethullah Gülen in Pennsylvania.

50 year-old Adil Öksüz was one of the closest associates of Fethullah Gülen who lives in Pennsylvania, USA.

On 11th July 2016 he flew with the TK003 flight, Business Class, seat 4G to New York, and after the long 11 hour flight he only stayed two days and returned to Turkey on 13th July 2016.

That is two days before the 15th July 2016 coup attempt.

On the morning of 16th July, after the coup was suppressed, he was caught with the putschist soldiers who were trying to flee the Akıncılar Military Air Base, which was the headquarters of the putschists in Ankara.

Photo 5: Adil Öksüz was caught with other coup plotters at the Akıncı Air Base, HQ for the putschists, on the morning of 16th July.
Photo 6: Custody photos of Adil Öksüz after the coup .

In his interrogation he said that he had gone to the environs of the base, which is far away from the town ‘to look around for a possible piece of farmland to buy’.

According to some minutes revealed later when under custody Adil Öksüz went to the toilet. Some time later a member of the gendarmerie personnel went into the same cubicle that Adil Öksüz had used. As he was trying to get a tissue from the tissue box he realized that there was a device inside. He related this immediately to his superiors. The Specialist Sergeant was asked who had last used the cubicle. When it was found out that it was Adil Öksüz, he was asked ‘Is this yours?’ to which he answered ‘Oh yes that’s mine, I must have dropped it in the loo.’ The gendermarie official said ‘You did not drop it, you hid it.’ The commanding officers asked the soldiers what the device was. The soldiers and the police entered the number and the brand on the device on the internet trying to understand what it was. It was a GPS navigation device.

A theology professor who is caught at a military base that is the head quarters of a coup, with a GPS device…

But when Adil Öksöz appeared before the prosecutor and the judge all this evidence was ‘lost’ by some unseen hand. The prosecutor got suspicious of a civilian, middle aged man who was caught in the vicinity of the military base but the judge had no evidence to go on. Adil Öksüz was released and he disappeared without a trace. Since then, both the gendermarie and the police have been looking for him everywhere.

Kemal Batmaz, was in seat 27H, economy class, on the TK003 flight on which Öksüz also flew to US on 11th July.

Kemal Batmaz was one of the high-ranking executives of Kaynak Holding.

Kaynak Holding was established in 1979 for the commercial operations of the Gülen Organization. The last CEO, Naci Tosun, had been by the side of Fethullah Gülen, and was taken into custody with him in 1986. He had been an administrator in the organization’s newspaper Zaman; in short a leading figure in the group.

In 2012 Kemal Batmaz was the director of Kaynak Medya, the advertising agency of Kaynak Holding.

Photo 7: Kemal Batmaz (yellow pullover, glasses) in the Kaynak Media Advertising Agency’s promotion film
Video:3 He was an advertiser 4 years ago…

We see Batmaz in the promotion video filmed in the agency office and his name would appear again in the advertising conference he organized: Update/2012 Marketing Trends and Future, which would get a lot of air time on media and television.

In 2015 he set up a real estate firm named Matris with a senior director from Koç Holding.

Photo 8: Kemal Batmaz was a director in the holding belonging to the Gülenists

This trip to the US was not the first that Adil Öksüz and Kemal Batmaz had gone on together. On 18th October 2009 Adil Öksüz had flown to the US, followed two days later on 20th October 2009 by Kemal Batmaz. Batmaz had returned on the 22nd, Öksüz on the 23rd. Adil Öksüz and Kemal Batmaz had gone to the US on 16th May 2010 and had returned to Turkey on 25th May 2010.

On 13th July 2016 Kemal Batmaz and Adil Öksüz returned to Turkey from the US together with Turkish Airlines flight TK002. When the flight landed in Istanbul, Atatürk Airport security cameras filmed them walking side until they got into cars.

Photo 9: On 13th July 2016 Kemal Batmaz and Adil Öksüz returned to Turkey from US
Photo 10: 13th July 2016 Adil Öksüz and Kemal Batmaz in Istanbul Atatürk Airport after their flight from US has landed
Video:4 The video of the airport footage

In his testimony concerning these pictures Batmaz said, ‘I had to do some processing for my miles card. We might have ended up next to one another. This is a coincidence. But the coincidences didn’t end there. Kemal Batmaz, just like Adil Öksüz, was caught in Akıncı Base near Ankara, the HQ for putschists, on the morning of the 16th July. And again by coincidence he claimed he had gone there to ‘a farmland to buy. .

Photo 11: Kemal Batmaz was caught in the Akıncı Airbase, Coup HQ .

A civilian who has been a holding executive, who has worked in advertising, and who has never held an official position turns up in the corridors of the Akıncı airbase housing the F-16 fleet. What business he had there during the night of the coup was revealed later.

Photo 12: Kemal Batmaz who has no military or official connection in the corridors of the F-16 base
Photo 13: The officer near Kemal Batmaz is the general of the base Brigadier General Hakan Evrim

In the footage he walks the corridors, speaks to the soldiers who greet him, and enters and exits room as if he is very familiar with the premises.

Video:5 Footage of Kemal Batmaz at the Akıncı Airbase on the night of the coup

But he wasn’t the only civilian in the corridors of the airbase that night. On the night of the coup, another civilian can be seen in CCTV images from the corridors of the Squadron 143.

Photo 14: Harun Biniş, man with long hair, scurrying in the corridors of the air base of F-16 Squadron 143.

His name is Harun Biniş He is a graduate of Electrical Engineering Faculty of Bilkent University, one of Turkey’s best universities. In 2001, he made a presentation called “A Success Story: Forensics Laboratory” at the 5th Lotus Summit which he attended as the Internet Solutions Group Manager of Sürat Computing Technologies.

Sürat Computing Technologies, which later changed its name to Sürat Informatics is an affiliated company of Kaynak Holding, which belongs to Gülenists.

Photo 15: Biniş too was a former employee of a Gülenist holding

Between 2010–2013, Biniş worked at the Telecommunications Directorate, which is the centre for forensic monitoring activity in Turkey. News about him was published in newspapers identified him as the engineer who set up the organization’s infrastructure that made the bugging activity possible. He was the defendant in a case brought against him after 2014 investigations into the illegal bugging activity at his organization, and he testified in court.

His last employer was another informatics company with a specialization in defence technology, based in Middle East Technical University’s Teknokent.

Thanks to yet another coincidence, he was arrested at the Akıncı air base miles outside the city centre on the night of July 15th together with Kemal Batmaz and Adil Öksüz and told the prosecutors he was there to “look for a plot [of land] to buy”

Contrary to Adil Öksüz, who managed to get away, both Kemal Batmaz and Harun Biniş were arrested and are now in jail.

Other employees of the Gülenist Kaynak Holding were at work that night too.

Harun Şahin was the former general manager of Sürat Technology, a company within the Gülenist Kaynak Holding, that oversaw the installation of street CCTV systems all over Istanbul.

Photo 16: Harun Şahin.

Niyazi Akalın was a systems engineer at Sürat Technology, an affiliated company of Kaynak Holding.

Photo 17: Niyazi Akalın

Seyfullah Genç was the CEO of a company called Supercom Informatics, owned by Harun Şahin. At the time of the coup, he worked as the Manager of Information Technologies at one of Turkey’s biggest cement companies.

Photo 18: Seyfullah Genç

Their mission on the night of the coup in Istanbul was to help the putschists take over the broadcasts of TRT (state owned Turkish Radio and Television) and the digital broadcasting platform Digiturk. Their images were captured by CCTV on the morning of July 16th as they ran away, climbing over the fence wall of the TRT building.

Photo 19: Employees of the Gülenist holding running away from TRT on the morning of the coup.
Video:6 Information technologies experts climbing over the fence walls of TRT on the morning of the coup

The putschists that took over the headquarters of TRT in Ankara on the night of the coup forced a TRT presenter to read out their declaration of the coup on live TV.

Photo 20: TRT presenter Tijen Karaş as she reads out the declaration
Video:7 TRT presenter Tijen Karaş as she reads out the declaration.

The putschists at TRT that night were accompanied by engineers who were civilians. Computer engineer Onur Demircan was one of them. He graduated from the department of Computer Engineering at METU, which accepts only students with the highest university entrance exam scores in Turkey. Then he completed a Management Information Systems PhD at the same university in the field of social media data analysis. At the time of the coup he worked at Havelsan, which provides services to the Turkish Armed Forces in the areas of defence and aeronautics.

On the night of the coup, he was with the putschists at the TRT building in Ankara alongside other civilians whose names could not be identified.

Photo 21: Onur Demircan (man in green t-shirt) in the TRT building on the night of July 15th

It later emerged that he set the dates between July 15–29 for his annual leave. After his CCTV images were revealed, he immediately disappeared and sent his resignation to his employer via e-mail.

There were also policemen who were dismissed from the police force after 2014 due to their links with the Gülen cult, and sought by law enforcement, who emerged from the shadows that night. One of them was quite familiar from the Gezi Park protests.

At the time of Gezi Park Protests, Mithat Aynacı was the assistant police chief at the Police Security Unit in charge of confronting and dispersing protests. He had a part in the police’s excessive use of teargas and arbitrary arrests during the protests.

Photo 22: Mithat Aynacı led the policemen that intervened in Gezi Park protests.

On November 1st, 2014, he was dismissed from the police force on the grounds that he was a member of the Gülen cult. Later, he returned to the force by way of a court ruling yet was not assigned any duty. On the night of the coup, members of the public took a man in uniform out of one of the tanks that was brought by the putschists to take over the headquarters of Istanbul Police Department. This man was none other than Mithat Aynacı. He was there with the putschists to take over the police department he was once dismissed from.

Photo 23: Mithat Aynacı, on the night of the coup, taken out of a tank brought to take over Istanbul Police Department from which he was dismissed.
Video:8 Former Police Chief Inside the Putschists’ Tank

Anafartalar College, was a private school in Ankara that was known to be a secular and Kemalist institution of education. Children of military officials received discounts on school fees.

Photo 24: Anafartalar College in Ankara had the appearance of a Kemalist school.

The owner of this private school, Hakan Çiçek, was captured on July 15th at Akıncı, the air base from where the coup was masterminded that night. In his statement, he said he was there to “visit the parent of a pupil, who is a military official.

It was later revealed that Anafartalar College was established for the children of the members of the Gülen cult in the army, and was shut down after the coup. G.Ç., the brother of Hakan Çiçek, who was a Major in the Air Aviation Command and worked as a helicopter maintenance pilot, was also arrested over charges relating to the coup. The prosecutor’s office established that Hakan Çiçek travelled to the US in January, March, and June in 2016 on the same dates as Adil Öksüz and Kemal Batmaz. In his statement, Çiçek said that this was mere coincidence and claimed that he travelled to the US for his personal business.

Photo 25: Hakan Çiçek (man in crimson tie) at a ceremony at his school together with General Akın Öztürk, arrested for being a putschist.

Analizi Harbi (Real Analysis) was a popular account on Twitter with close to 40000 followers. It shared technical and military analyses on matters like armed conflict with the PKK and Syria, and criticized the government.

Tweets from this account included the likes of this one that praised the American prosecutor who had Reza Zarrab, the businessman who was at the centre of the investigations of December 17–25, 2013 investigations, arrested.

Photo 26: From the Analiz Harbi account to the Preet Bharara the American prosecutor.

This account shared something of a prophecy on the morning of July 15th, hours before the coup.

“Within two months, relations with Syria will go back to normal. Syrians will start to go back to their country. Public funds allotted for them will be gone.”

Photo 27: The prophecy of relations with Syria going back to normal on the morning of July 15th

Later that day, when it became clear that a coup was taking place, this account replied to one of its followers as follows :

“My darling, apparently, I was made a commander of martial law. Come to my territory if its trouble you want”

Photo 28: After the declaration of the coup was read out on live TV

Gerdarmerie Staff Colonel Ömer Kulaç, who was appointed to the Nevşehir-Kırşehir area as a commander of martial law, was captured after the coup failed at the end of a shoot out with the police.

Photo 29: Colonel Ömer Kulaç captured on the morning after the failed coup at the end of a shoot out with the police.

It was later learned that he was the owner of the Analizi Harbi account on Twitter.

Photo 30: He was the owner of the Analizi Harbi account.

Older brother of Staff Colonel Hasan Kulaç, who was a Rear Admiral and the Head of the Navy Supply Department, was among those arrested on the night of the coup at Akıncı air base. A third brother, Hüseyin Kulaç, a member of the Supreme Court, was also arrested over charges relating to the coup. Interestingly enough, the brother of Hasan Kulaç’s wife, Cihan Kansız, was one of the infamous Ergenekon Case’s prosecutors. He fled the country and went to Belgium before a warrant for his arrest could be issued in a case brought against him over charges of misconduct in investigations.

Video:9 Three Gülenist Brothers in the Army and the Judiciary.

The case of the Kulaç brothers is an apt example of how the Gülen cult was organized in a clandestine fashion within the most critical state institutions,and helps explain why there is also a purge of civil servants going on alongside the dismissal of members of the military involved with the cult. There are other cases too.

II- Who were the Bureaucrats Dismissed After the Coup?

Kemal Işıklı was a high-ranking employee of 15 years at the official Banking Regulation and Supervision Authority in Ankara. He was an expert in the Department of Risk Management.

He had another job, though, apart from his professional one. He was an ‘elder’ to the Underwater Assault Commandos. Let us quote from his testimony:

Sergeant Murat Fırat, whom I knew was personnel in the Underwater Assault Commandos and had the code name of ‘Miraç,’ Sergeant Özgür Danışan with the code name ‘Ömer,’ Sergeant Hamdi Çıplak with the code name ‘Onur,’ Sergeant Fatih Kaya with the code name ‘Hamza,’ Sergeant Mutlu Ferik with the code name ‘Murat’ and Sergeant İrfan Altuntaş with the code name ‘İsmail’ used to come to my personal residence. We read the Koran and had conversations of a religious nature. We never discussed politics. These people, who were members of the military, did not have knowledge of each other.”

Photo 31: Kemal Işıklı, was a civil servant experienced in banking

The banking expert was the subordinate of another ‘elder’ at an İmam Hatip high school (high school with an emphasis in religious education) with the code name of ‘Cankurt.’ Cankurt, whose full name Işıklı did not know, gave him instructions.

“He told me to ‘invite them and let us meet’ and by ‘them’ he meant the soldiers in the Underwater Assault Commandos. Then I phoned one person from each group, asked them to come over to my place and set different meeting times for them. I also called Cankurt and let him know when the soldiers were going to come. They came to my place at the times I asked them to, after which Cankurt arrived. He told them ‘Someone called Kemal will come and see you. I want you to do what he says.’ There was casual conversation afterwards and then Cankurt and the soldiers left.”

This was how the Underwater Assault Commandos, whose ‘elder’ was Kemal Işıklı, were made aware of the imminent coup. And they were the same commandos who flew on the night of the coup to Marmaris to arrest or assassinate President Erdoğan.

Muhterem Çöl was a bureaucrat with a PhD in artificial intelligence who started his career as an aircraft engineer in the Turkish Armed Forces. Since 2001, he’d been the vice president of the Information and Telecommunication Technologies Authority, which of Turkey’s cell phone networks. He attended conferences,and conventions,and gave interviews on TV about base stations. A warrant for his arrest was issued after the coup but he’d already disappeared.

Photo 32: Muhterem Çöl, the Vice President of the Information and Telecommunication Technologies Authority, the legal body that directed directed all Turkey’s cellphone networks

The reason for this warrant of arrest became clear through the testimony of the arrested Gendarmerie Major, Haydar Hacıpaşalıoğlu, who said that Çöl was the ‘elder’ from the Gülen cult who was responsible for him.

“I was assigned to Ankara in 2010. I was introduced to Muhterem Çöl, whose code name was Turgut and who worked at the Information and Telecommunication Technologies Authority. This person has been my ‘elder’ for five years.”

The Major learned of the coup when he was at the Vice President’s home.

“On the evening of July 14th, at Muhterem Çöl’s home, we were told there was going to be a significant activity tomorrow under the direction of Fethullah Gülen. Speeches charged with emotion were made. I was deeply moved.”

Mustafa Koçyiğit, had a bright career despite being quite young. He graduated from the department of Public Administration at Ankara University’s Faculty of Political Science. He then went on to have a master’s degree in Public Policy at Michigan State University. He took part in the project of “Restructuring the Turkish Public Administration” at the Prime Minister’s Office between 2004–2009. He continued to work at the Prime Minister’s Office as an administrator in personnel management.

Photo 33: Mustafa Koçyiğit had a bright career.

He too had a job that was unknown to others. Let us quote from the statement he made after his arrest after the coup:

“The cult member with the code name of ‘Selman’ assigned me the duty of working in cooperation with engineers at the technical and data processing unit at the Prime Minister’s Office. He used to call me from a pay phone and we used to meet outside. Under instructions from the ‘elder’ Selman, I got into contact with someone called Burak who worked at the office of the Head of Intelligence Department, and started to carry out instructions. We communicated with the engineers through the app called ‘Bylock.’ We also used the apps of ‘Eagle’ and ‘Tango.’ I asked the engineers to give us data that might be of use to us. The engineers, Haşim and Burak, started to bring us data on USB, CD, and hard disk. We used to meet at their homes or outside. And I turned these data over to someone called Furkan. This is how we got hold of the list of 20000 people involved with the parallel structure sent to the Head of Intelligence Department by the National Intelligence Service.”

“On July 15th I exchanged texts with an ‘elder’ called Selahattin. He told me ‘The engineers should figure out a way to stay at the office of the Head of Intelligence Department on Friday night and through the weekend,’ which I told the engineers. When I found out about the coup, I texted the engineers and said that the information processing unit had to be protected. They acted on what I said and were captured near the office of the Head of Intelligence Department in Yıldız. The last texting app we used was Tango, which was also used by some 30000 cult members. I regret what I have done. I knew that the data I made available was classified information and documents of the state.”

Mustafa Koçyiğit, who was a well-educated civil servant at the Prime Minister’s Office, orchestrated the transfer of data from here to the Gülen cult and took part in the arrangements leading up to the coup. He did all of this under instruction from his ‘elders,’ who were his superiors in the cult.

Members of the cult communicated through various texting apps. Among these, Bylock and Eagle were developed by engineers involved with the cult for the exclusive use of their own members, accessible only by password.

Photo 34: Bylock, a texting app for cellphones developed by the Gülen cult for the exclusive use of its own members.

The swift identification of the names of people to be dismissed from state institutions and the military was made possible by the National Intelligence Service’s uncovering of the secret communication networks like Bylock and Eagle developed by the cult prior to the coup.

The reason for the post-coup purges that were met with criticism in the West is the existence of this cult structure that organizes itself parallel to the state and civil society.

It is also important to remember that not everyone in the cult was as discreet in the days before the coup. Some members of the cult who knew of the imminent coup, dropped hints in their tweets and statements.. The ones who could not keep the secret were, not surprisingly, journalists.

III- Gülen Organization’s coup foretelling journalists of the Coup

Osman Özsoy was a professor of political science and a Gülenist.He produced and presented TV programmes on channels like Samanyolu and Bugün that belonged to the Gülen cult. A month before the coup, on June 15th, 2016, when he appeared on a live internet broadcast on the Özgürlük Zamanı (Time for Freedom), a website based in the USA,he said:

Video 12: Gülenist professor divulges the coup a month before

Özsoy: “Good times are@ just around the corner. How I wish I were a colonel today and not a professor, then I would have much more to contribute to this process..
Presenter: How exactly would you contribute?
Özsoy: I just said what I said and won’t be commenting on it more. If I were to be a colonel today, I would have a bigger chance of service.”

Faruk Mercan was a journalist who worked for the newspapers Zaman and Bugün as well as the weekly Aksiyon magazine, all of which belonged to the Gülen Cult. In 2009, he wrote a biography of Fethullah Gülen.

Five months before July 15th, he shared tweets that hinted at the coup:

“There had not been this many blasts and loss of civilian lives even in the days before September 12th, 1980. The Republic of Turkey is going through the most serious crisis of its history.” (March 13th, 2016)

Photo 36: Faruk Mercan

Tuncay Opçin was another journalist who worked for Bugün and Aksiyon. He too went abroad before the coup. Two days before July 15th, he shared the following tweet:(13 July 2016)

“Busted in bed, hung by dawn”

Photo 37: Tuncay Opçin

Mustafa Ünal was the Ankara representative of the Gülenist newspaper, Zaman. Apparently, he could not keep the news to himself and two days before the coup, on July 13rd, he wrote:(13 July 2016)

“You just wait and see what is to come.”

Photo 38: Mustafa Ünal

A former police superintendent, Emre Uslu, was a Gülenist journalist/analyst who was quite notorious for his prophecies. After various lawsuits were brought against him in 2014, a warrant for his arrest was issued; he fled the country and never came back.

In September 2015, replying to one of his followers who asked when he would come back to Turkey, he wrote: “July, 2016.”

Photo 39: Emre Uslu

And on March 14th, 2016, in another tweet he jokingly asked his followers to pitch in and buy him a ticket from Washington to Istanbul for the 22nd of July.

Photo 40: Emre Uslu

An ad was aired before October 5th, 2015 when Zaman, the newspaper owned by the Gülen Cult was shut down for being the mouthpiece of the cult. The ad was called “The Wail of Silence”. The opening scene was a cityscape against a backdrop of wails of sirens which was then followed by the shot of a smiling baby. 9 months later, the coup attempt took place.

Video 13: The ad aired by Zaman 9 months before the coup: “The Wail of Silence

IV- The Gülen Group’s 40-year dance with the army

One imam who was doing his obligatory military service in Ankara had taken part in Talat Aydemir’s coup attempts:

“The last evening we were extremely excited. The Radio Broadcasting House was taken by them, and by us in succession. First the news went out that there was a coup, then it was declared that the coup had been suppressed…. Then we heard planes flying over us. Their aim was to wipe Mamak off the map. Then our side surrendered…”

The name of that young, 22 year old imam was Fethullah Gülen.

In his memoir, Fethullah Gülen, a preacher born in 1941, says that his first encounter with the reality of the army was when he was 22 years old, during the coup of 27th May 1960:

It was very difficult for me to accept that the 1960 coup had happened. That day we fled and came to a village. I said to him; ; you find a gun. And a bomb each. I will not rest till I have blown this parliament over their heads… I wanted to blow up the general command of the Chief of Staff, I wanted to revenge myself over these men at all costs… When I was making these plans I am telling you about, I thought I’d ask Yaşar Hodja (Tunagör)… He said to me ‘Son! Let me ask you something. Who will you put in their place if you kill them?’ I had not thought of that till then. One piece of slime would be cleaned but another piece would take its place, and this idea helped me.’”

Gülen was taken into police custody during his obligatory military service in 1962, during which period he made political remarks in one of his sermons. His memoirs reveal, again, that even then there were military officers who were protecting him:

“ I will never forget Necdet Bey’s heroism at the time. I learnt later he was a major. I thought he was a lieutenant. He was an optician. Despite the fact that he was not allowed to see me he jumped over the barbed fence and entered with his official uniform. He hugged me. Because he was a maritime officer the soldier was confused about his rank and asked ‘What kind of private is this, officers and pashas come and speak with him’ and they were afraid… He told me later when we met. They said to him ‘How is it that you go to a private and hug him.’ And he replied ‘He is not a private. He is another sort of man. I am ready to kiss his feet…”

Gülen was arrested again after the military memorandum of 12th March 1971. He was freed in an amnesty. It was during this time that the first study centres and student accommodation of his organization had started to be set up in Izmir.

His name was on the search list after the coup of 12th September 1980. But by this time there were high-ranking officers who would alert him to the coming coup:

“One day before coup, towards noon, a couple of people who were close to them (high ranking officers) came to me and told me there could be some commotion in the military. So I knew that there may be a coup already around noon. In the afternoon, towards the evening, two young friends (military students) came, now they have dismissed one, but one is still a member of the military. At night I woke them up and said ‘leave the house, your people will rebel tonight’. We got them up and they left the house…”

Gülen had saluted the military coup of 12th September 1980, which would result in a six year search, for him in a piece in his Sızıntı (Fountain) magazine, in the following manner:

“…we thank the Mehmed (soldier) who comes to our aid in our hour of need, at the moment when our hope finished, and we offer him our wish that this transformation may reach its full force.”

The Gülenist organization within the army first came to light 30 years ago, in 1986.

On 28th December 1986, a headline of the then left leaning weekly Nokta magazine, penned by Ruşen Çakır and Can San was: ‘The religious group that has infiltrated the army: Fethullahçıs.’

Photo 41: 1986, left leaning Nokta Magazine’s report: The religious group that has infiltrated the army: Fethullahçıs

The report continued:

“In the investigations carried out in three military schools, 66 students were found to have links to Fethullah’s organization, and were expelled. It was established that this religious group was preparing the students for military school exams through the study centres that they had opened, and that they planned to organize themselves within the military through these entries. A group of students from the Işıklar Military High School were gathered together in a house in Bursa and were listening to their ‘elders.’ ‘Grit your teeth and bear it till you become staff officers. Do your prayers with your eyes. We will have a firm grip on Turkey in the 2000s.” These military students of 14–16 years of age were given ‘a truly tough’ mission. To infiltrate the Military Forces which had come to be known as the bastion of secularism ” in Turkey…”

In 1992 Directorate of Security Intelligence Unit Head Tuncer Meriç wrote the first report that drew attention to the Gülenist structure that was being built within the state. According to the report even at the time the Gülenists were in contact with ‘up to 50 percent of the students of the police school in Ankara’ and that ‘a civilian university student was at the head of the structure within the police college.’

In 1994 Milliyet newspaper wrote that there was an investigation concerning Gülenist officers at the Gölcük Navy Base and GATA (Military Medicine Faculty), and that many officers may be dismissed. The papers also claimed that Fethullah Gülen had met with the Prime Minister at the time, Tansu Çiller, and asked for support in the face of these investigations.

Photo 42: 15th December 1994 dated Milliyet Newspaper: Fethullah-Çiller meeting: Was the religious operation discussed?

The conversation that took place between Fethullah Gülen and Prime Minister Çiller during that meeting was revealed years later. Alaaddin Kaya, one of Gülen’s closest affiliates and the first owner of the Gülenist mouthpiece Zaman newspaper (and who is now under arrest as part of the coup investigation) was invited to the Committee for the Investigation of Coups in 2012. He said that Gülen had told Çiller that there was a certain commotion in the military and tried to give her some official documents, upon which Çiller got angry and said ‘Let us try to be reasonable, my dear Hodja.’

In the same testimony for the parliamentary commission Alaattin Kaya said that in 1996 Fethullah Gülen had tried to make a similar offer to Prime Minister Erbakan. Gülen had sent Erbakan audio recordings of the High Military Council where the promotions and demotions within the army for the year were decided, so that the PM may be warned of the military’s movements.

That is to say, the Gülenists were already a very strong structure within the army 30 years ago, to the point that they could listen in and record the most important meetings of the Turkish Armed Forces.

And then came 1999. In the operation conducted by the Aegean Army Command Headquarters and Izmir Security Forces Directorate on 21st March 1999, there were raids in two houses in the Yenişehir Zeytinlik district run by the Gülenists. The people found in the house at the time, students from Uludağ and Marmara Universities, N.C. and S.C., along with a student from Maltepe Military High School M.Y (code name Numan), M.S (code name Ismail), H.Y.K. (code name Ali), Y.A. (code name Enes) and a religion teacher whose name was not made public, were taken into custody. The interrogations of students N.C. and S.C. were held at the Security Branch Directorate and they were then moved to the court. Their deposition was taken at the Izmir Republic Prosecutor’s office, and then they were released.

The people who had been caught were military high school students and their imams, (elders, or ‘abi’s, as they call them), all members of the Gülen organization

A day after the operation, on 22nd March 1999, Fethullah Gülen left Turkey and went to the US on grounds of medical treatment.

Three months later, on the evening of 18th June 1999, ATV broadcast one of his sermons from 1986. Gülen was pretty clear in his statements:

“…they need to continue the ‘service’ in this manner until they [the others] come to a certain point, become pliable; this is necessary, imperative. If they do something wrong, they ‘out’ themselves before the necessary road has been trodden, the world will supress them, and the Muslims will be put through something like the experience of the Algerians. There will be another catastrophe like the one Syria in 82… The smallest error will cost us much and we cannot overcome the defeat we may face with such an error, we cannot correct it. Then they will tie your hands completely and won’t let you straighten your back again, may Allah protect us… You have to wait, to the point where you are able to find the perfect essence, when they are pliable, to the point when you can lift the whole world on your shoulders, to the moment when you can represent that power, that moment when you are able to attract to yourself the state structure and constitutional establishments in Turkey, any step taken before this state of affairs is reached would be an early step, any such step would be like cracking open an egg that has not completed its 20 days, it would be like a hen leaving the chicks to the hail and storms… this is us, this is our voice and breath. I have tried to express my feelings and thoughts in as private a manner as I can in this crowded space; I have shared them with the understanding that you are aware of the need for confidentiality, trusting your delicate sense of privacy. I know that when you leave, just as you discard the empty fruit juice cans in your hand, you will so discard these thoughts into the bin, have I made myself clear, yes, my secret is your slave, if you share it, you will be its slave.”

“Whether in the civil service, or the judiciary, or in other fields, I had spoken of this before, the presence of our friends is the guarantee of that mission, in the name of our Islamic future. That is to say the presence of one of our friends in the judiciary, in the civil service, in a crucial institution should not be treated as a personal presence, that is not how it should be weighed. They are the guarantees of our future in those units. They are the pulse of our existence. They are the security of our existence in this field. If those who are there today cannot hold on to their positions now, we will not be able to protect the presence of those to come or will have difficulty in protecting them as we are having now’”

After the release of the tapes a case was filed against Fethullah Gülen at the State Security Court and the prosecutor asked for his arrest. On 6th November 2001, Gülen went to the Newark Federal Prosecutor’s office and testified to the prosecutor Bruce Repetto and said that the tapes were ‘a fabrication and montage’ The prosecutor Nusret Demiral, the prosecutor who asked for Gülen’s arrest, was forced to resign from his job in 2002 when some sex tapes were revealed. The strange coincidence is that Ali Kırca, the journalist who had broadcast these tapes, also had to resign when sex tapes, this time featuring himself, were revealed. The case concerning Gülen was postponed for five years in 2003 and in 2008 the Turkish Supreme Court acquitted him unanimously.

V- Gülen Group in the American Embassy telegraphs

These secret tapes were known not only to the US prosecutors but also to the US ambassador at the time, James Jeffrey. In a telegraph he sent to Washington in 2009 he referred to Gülen’s speech about infiltrating the state apparatus.

US now wants concrete proof of Gülen’s organization being behind the coup, and yet the American state has been aware, at least for 10 years, that Fethullah Gülen is no ‘sufi cleric’ but a man whose organization has been building up a parallel structure within the Turkish state.

Video 15: Fethullah Gülen sermon in 1979 in Izmir, in which he talks about violence against USA and non-believers, about revenge that will be extracted in 10 years’ time…

It is enough to look at a few of the telegraphs US ambassadors to Turkey sent to Washington to appreciate this.

US Ankara Ambassador Eric Edelman (2005):

“ The Gulen cemaat has concentrated (with marked success) on building up a worldwide network of schools and Turkey-wide network of business and journalists/writers associations. It has also infiltrated hundreds of adherents into the national police, judiciary, and Sayistay (GAO equivalent) and also has made inroads into the AKP government, but more recently has signaled its dissatisfaction with the way Erdogan has tried to govern and appears to be distancing itself from him.”

US Istanbul Deputy Consul General Stuart Smith (2005):

“The specific Gulenist concern about negative U.S. attitudes towards Gulen apparently stems in part from a November 2004 FBI report that Gulen’s lawyer obtained through a FOIA request. Three ranking Turkish National Police contacts recently raised the issue in a meeting with Istanbul legat, in which they also provided material on Gulen and asked if the FBI could provide some sort of “clean bill of health” for him. (Note: Legat demurred, given the apparent intention to mount a public relations campaign with such material.)”

Istanbul Consul General Deborah Jones (2006):

“Gulen supporters account for an increasing proportion of Mission Turkey’s nonimmigrant visa applicant pool. As applicants, Gulenists are almost uniformly evasive about their purpose of travel and their relationships to Gulen, raising questions among Consular officers. Our unease is also shared by secular segments of Turkish society.”

Istanbul Consul General Sharon A. Wiener (2009):

“Another group that sparks the ire of the Kemalists are the followers of the religious leader Fethullah Gulen. Our contacts all agree they are everywhere in Turkish society, including the strongest bastion of Kemalism — the military.”

US Ambassador to Ankara James Jeffrey (2009):

“The assertion that the TNP is controlled by Gulenists is impossible to confirm but we have found no one who disputes it, and we have heard accounts that TNP applicants who stay at Gulenist pensions are provided the answers in advance to the TNP entrance exam.”

The US was aware of the structure that the Gülenists were building within the army from seven years before and that the Ergenekon cases were closely related with this plan. US Ambassador to Ankara James Jeffrey (2009):

“Gulenist newspapers champion the Ergenekon investigation and continually surprisingly, contacts close to the the Turkish General Staff stress that the traditional dominance of the Turkish military has been a negative factor in Turkey’s history. Not openly loathe Gulen, and contend that he and his legions of supporters are embarked on a ruthless quest not only to undermine the Turkish military but to transform Turkey into an Islamic republic similar to Iran.”

Jeffrey, who was US ambassador to Turkey in 2008–2010 also said the following in the interview he gave after the coup:

“The Gülenist movement has some infiltration at the least in the military that I am aware of. They of course had extreme infiltration into the police and judiciary earlier. I had seen that when I was in Turkey previously, particularly in the Sledgehammer case, [the National Intelligence Organization head] Hakan Fidan case [and the] corruption cases in 2013. It is very clear that significant segment of the bureaucracy in Turkey were infiltrated in and had their allegiance to a movement, not a state. That of course is absolutely unacceptable and extremely dangerous. And it highly likely that it has led to the [attempted] coup.

US embassy was very well aware of the secret organization that the Gülen group had in the army, and the tactics they used to infiltrate the system. These tactics were spelled out in a telegraph sent by the US Istanbul Consul General Sharon Wiener on 17th September2009:

“Another group that sparks the ire of the Kemalists are the followers of the religious leader Fethullah Gulen. Our contacts all agree they are everywhere in Turkish society, including the strongest bastion of Kemalism — the military. Congar told us military leadership is increasingly concerned with the Gulen Movement’s infiltration of the higher ranks of the armed forces, and are keen to continually purge Gulenists from their ranks. One tactic for ferreting them out is to hold a pool party where military officers are expected to bring their wives, thus exposing the pious women who refuse to wear a swimsuit to the detriment of their husbands, careers. Congar, however, noted Gulen supporters have begun to act in a secular manner to protect their identities. For example, while the secularists, wives attend pool parties with one-piece suits, Gulenist,s wives will wear more revealing two-piece swimsuits. She also mentioned stories of pious officers stocking their house and trash with alcohol bottles to fool the ever vigilant inspectors seeking to root out non-secular officers. (COMMENT: Many Kemalists and academics assume the Gulen Movement has already captured the police in Turkey (reftel B C). Significant Gulen inroads into the military would lead many Kemalists to believe their last defensive perimeter against fundamental Islam has been breached.)”

VI- ‘Abi’s, or Elders: the parallel hierarchy of the putschist officers within the army

Gülen had asked those who had listened to his confidential sermon to discard the contents into a bin. And when he listed the official institutions where ‘our friends are present’ he named the judiciary, the civil service, and a ‘crucial institution’ that he did not name.

The ‘crucial institution’ which he did not name, due to security concerns, was the Turkish Armed Forces.

In his interviews Fethullah Gülen always denied that his organization was creating its own parallel structure within the army:

“ This is a shocking lie. I have no idea what these projects are. I never had such a project. Because infiltration happens in enemy territory. My feelings for the army are known by all and what I have written and said about the army is out in the public.”

Gülen group’s organization within the army was carried out for 40 years, and was referred to in the most coded terms even in the most confidential of meetings.

In an army that was over sensitive about the issue of secularism, the officers were expected to have a secular life style, and they could easily be fired when they prayed or when their wives wore the headscarf.

Fethullah Gülen, developed tactics he called ‘tadbir’, or ‘precaution’ in order to surmount these sensitivities. These tactics are commonly known as ‘takiyya,’ applied in the Shia branch of Islam: fatwas are given for committing certain sins in order to advance the cause of Islam. Performing the prayer with the movement of the eyes, drinking alcohol a certain amount as to not get drunk, not wearing the headscarf- these were the fatwas given so that the Gülenists could hide their identity in the army and be known as secularpeople.

Security analyst and former soldier Metin Gürcan, who was himself forced to resign due to some footage that was leaked to the internet, described lieutenant-colonel Levent Türkkan who took the General Chief of Staff prisoner on the night of the coup in the following terms:

“He drank alcohol and did not fast during the holy month of Ramadan, to show he was not religious.”

This was how lieutenant-colonel Türkkan was known to his friends. In his deposition at the prosecutor’s office Türkkan described his 27 years with Gülen’s Organization which had facilitated his entry to the military academy:

Photo 43: Lieutenant-Colonel Levent Türkkan, who had been the right hand man of the General Chief of Staff, was among the putschists who took him prisoner on the night of the coup

“In those days I was a student at the Bursa Cumhuriyet Middle School. I was a good student with a bright future. In middle school I met the elders of Gülen’s organization. At the time there were elders who were university students with codes names such as Serdar and Musa. I was staying at the official accommodation of the high school. These elders used to come to student accommodation. They would lead me and those like me in prayer. Then they started to take me to the flat of their own group. In 1989 I entered the examination for Işıklar Military High School… midnight before the exam they came and brought me the questions to the exam. Elder Serdar had brought the questions. He had a computer print out of the questions. The multiple choices had already been marked. They were things I already knew. I read, and memorized… When I was at the Military High School I kept in touch with elders Serdar and Musa. I used to see them once a month. Usually we would go once a month, pray and have conversations, do lessons in which we would read Fetullah Gülen’s books. My elders had taught me how to take ablutions in the toilet and how to perform prayers with the movements of the eye in order not to out myself as an observant Muslim. We were able to perform prayers everywhere with this method. I used to visualize myself praying and recite sections of the Quran inwardly… During my time at the military high school my elders gave me no mission. I did not engage in any activity in the name of the organization. They said that our only mission was not exposing ourselves.”

The following section of his deposition is the best illustration of the hierarchical relationship between these officers in the army whose sole job was to keep themselves unexposed and the ‘civilian imam’s outside:

“When I finished the military high school in 1993 I enrolled straight away, without an examination, in the Military Academy. To be honest at the time I also questioned myself. I used to have girlfriends at the time and back then the elders of the organization would frown upon it”

Lieutenant-colonel Türkkan then talks about the kind of orders the officers in the army would receive from the civil imams:

“The elders I answered to were not from the military, they were all university graduates and used code names… I used to listen in on the conversations of General Chief of Staff Necdet Özel Pasha with a bug. The appliance was as small as two tips of a finger, and I used to put it somewhere in the pasha’s room every day and take it back with me every evening as I left. It had a memory capacity of 10–15 hours of recording. An elder before Elder Murat whose name I can’t remember and who worked at Turkish Telecom gave it to me. He had given it to me in his house. His house was in Incek, direction Alacaatlı. I could still find the place if I were to go. He gave me the recording device and told me to record the conversations of the pasha. ‘We’ll listen only to gain information, nothing will happen’ he said to me. I didn’t question it, I took the device. I recorded the pasha’s voice every day. There were two, three devices. Once a week I would take the device with the filled memory to my elder and pick the empty ones.”

These followings statements, on the other hand, give us an idea about the structure created by the Gülen organization within the army. In this structure an officer knows only the elder who is outside the army, and may not know the other Gülenists who are in the army:

“When the General Chief of Staff changed and I became aide of the new Chief Hulusi Akar, my mission to record ended. When I became the aide, Elder Murat said ‘You will not be leaving the recording machine anymore’ I learnt a few months later that this same job was now carried out by Sergeant Majors Serhat and Şener whose surname I did not know. Both sergeant majors were junior officer aides to Hulusi Akar Pasha.”

“They had carried out the job of second command during the period of Necdet Özel Pasha for two years, two years during the term of Hulusi Akar Pasha, and another two during time of Yaşar Güler Pasha. Their aide was my friend major Mehmet Akkurt. Mehmet Akkurt is also a member of Fetullah Gülen’s organization. We took the sound recordings with him. He would place the devices in the general chief of staff second command’s rooms. I did not know who his elder was.”

The Lieutenant-Colonel did not know the real name and the day job of the elder who had been his contact with the organization:

“The people I was in touch with in the organization were the men with the codenames Murat, Selahattin, and Adil. I know the house of Murat among them. It is near the road to Konya, I can show it to you. I do not know the jobs, or the real names or the addresses of the others.”

The gendarmerie major Haydar Hacıpaşalıoğlu who is now imprisoned for participating in the coup attempt reveals the extent of this secrecy:

“I never told my wife that I was a member of Gülen’s organization. If I had, being left-leaning, she would have denounced me. My wife comes from a Republican Party family and has social democrat values. In fact she would often say that she did not like Fethullah Gülen’s organization, that she even hated them. I have two children. The members of Gülen’s organization had some suggestions as to what name we should give my daughter. They suggested Nihal. I suggested to my wife that we call our daughter Nihal and she said that she knew someone called Nihal that she didn’t like and so refused.”

The Lieutenant-Colonel who was in charge of the security systems at the General Chief of Staff Head Quarters, Gökhan Eski, was also arrested for plotting the coup. In his testimony he too admitted that he was a member of Gülen’s organization and explained how he was introduced to the group, and his relationship with the civil elders of the organization for 30 years:

“I got introduced to the Gülen Organization in 1986, first year of my middle school. When at middle school they had appointed an elder for me with the code name B., he told me he was a student in the medical faculty. Our contact continued during high school as well. He took an interest in all that I did and took care of me. In 1989 I passed the exam for İzmir Maltepe Military High School. Elder B continued to visit until the day of my graduation. When I finished the military school I enrolled in the Land Military Academy. In his last visit he said ‘From now on A will come, not I’ and transferred me to him. During my Military Academy years I was attached to Elder A. That Elder transferred me to Elder Adil. My code name in the organization was Salih. This code name was given me in middle school by Elder B.”

Thus the lieutenant-colonel had changed elders three times in 30 years. And yet one thing remained the same: his code name. The following section of the testimony reveals that Gülenist members of the military did not know one another and at most, two officers were attached to the same elder:

“When I came to Ankara in 2012 Elder F introduced me to Elder R in the house of Elder Murat (Muhammed Uslu). Elder Murat is also the elder of Levent Türkkan. Elder R lived in Çayyolu. He worked at Turk Telecom. Six months after I came to Ankara. I met lieutenant-colonel Levent Türkkan in the house of Elder R. We learnt we were part of a same Gülen organization in Elder R’s house.”

Each officer has a civil imam to whom he is attached, and the connection to the Gülen organization is built not through the hierarchy within the army but through the civil imams outside the army. It is not difficult to guess that the order for the coup also came from outside. The depositions of the officers arrested for the coup verify this:

Lieutenant-colonel Levent Türkkan explains how he received the order for the coup:

“I learnt that there was going to be a coup on 14th July 2016, Thursday, around 10–11 am. General Chief of Staff Colonel Orhan Yıkılkan called me outside for a smoke. He gave me this information when we were alone there. He also told me that on the day of the coup my mission was to neutralize Hulusi Akar Pasha to facilitate things. He said that once I neutralized Hulusi Akar Pasha, the special forces would come and take him. I accepted the mission Orhan Yıkılkan gave to me without question. That night I went to the house of Elder Murat to whom I was attached, on the Konya road, behind the Opet gas station. I went because I was curious about what was happening. We didn’t have a routine appointment that day. In ordinary times we go to the elder’s house after informing him, that is how it is supposed to be done but because this was an extraordinary situation I went without calling him. Elders Adil and Selahattin, whom I knew from before, were present in the house. Although the house belonged to Elder Murat he was not there. Elder Selahattin is superior to Elder Murat by one degree. They asked me why I had come. They did not give me any information about the coup. I asked them ‘There will be activity tomorrow night, do you have any information about it?’ They were angry when I asked. ‘How do you know? Who did you speak to this about? Who told you?’ I told them that it was Colonel Orhan Yıkılkan who had told me. They knew Orhan Yıkılkan. I don’t know through what connection. ‘You will not say anything about this issue to anyone, anywhere, the plan will continue very secretly and not be exposed.’ They did not say anything about the mission I had been given. I left the house. When I learnt from the news that bombs had exploded and that the civil population had been harmed I started to regret it. What was being done was like a massacre. These things were done by the organization which I thought was meant to serve God’s will. The corridor was filled with officers who had participated in the coup up to 9 o’clock in the morning. Everyone kept saying ‘We have failed, we are surrendering’ I truly regret what I have done. Not only participating in the coup but of having been a member of the Fetullah Gülen organization. What I have said to you is in all sincerity.”

Junior Officer Bekir Kurt who was with the Special Forces and who has been arrested for the coup attempt says the following:

“I used to go to a house in the, Keçiören Şefkat neighbourhood for the book reading and sermon meetings. I do not know the exact address of the place, but I can take you there. I knew the owner of the house as ‘Adem’. There would also be another man with alias ‘Nesimi’, we would be three people. 3 days before the coup the man named Nesimi said that there would be trouble in the near future and said ‘you must help if an officer from your regiment comes to you tells you he needs help’ When I asked him who would come, he said: ‘He knows you.’’

During the coup, the task of the 26 year-old SAS Commando Avşar Zırh, who was Junior Officer on duty at the İstanbul Büyükçekmece SAS underwater and rescue group command, was to take the Commander of the Marine Corps into custody. He spoke of similar chain of command:

Photo 44: SAS Commando Staff Sergeant Avşar Zırh was first set free. He got married. But then came back to the authorities saying his conscience troubled him, and told what he knew.

“On 14th July my organization elder whom I knew as Ulvi called me on the phone and wanted to meet. There was another person I did not know at the meeting. This person said to me ‘Beautiful and important things will happen tomorrow.’ The evening of 15th July I went to Junior Officer C S’s house at 23:00. There were three more members of the military there…”

Ankara Gendermarie Command Intelligence Branch Director Major Erdal Karlıdağ had heard about the coup from the elders in the organization:

“Because confidentiality was of the utmost importance in the organization I did not even know the officers, junior officers and rank officers who were members of Gülen’s organization within the army. On Wednesday two people came to my house. The man named Halil told me that he had made a list of three thousand active members of the organization within the gendarmerie, that I was on this list, and that we were all going to be dismissed from our positions in the August Council. We went to a park in Anıttepe together. In the park we came upon Lieutenant-Colonel Süleyman Karaca (Gendermaries Personnel Division Branch Director). Altındağ Gendarmerie Commander Murat was there too. He said that there would be activity on Friday, and when it starts, we should go to TÜRKSAT in Gölbaşı.”

In his deposition Gendermarie Lieutenant-Colonel F.E. explained how the order of the coup was relayed and the civilian institutions these civil elders were in conversation with:

“In 2011 I was appointed to the Ankara Gendermarie General Command Personnel Division Junior Officer Assignment Branch. I met up every two or three weeks with a mathematics teacher with the code name Osman who I believed to be the general imam of Gülen’s organization in the military- I do not know his address.

When the posting period was near, he would bring a list of 30–40 people concerning the posting of the personnel. I played more of a role in the postings after 2013. After the 17–25 December events I started to see less of Osman. In July 2015 I was appointed to the Ankara Gendermarie Commando Special Public Security Command. I continued to see Osman. When they asked, I made as hefty a donation as I could. Starting from 1994 I used the code names Fatih and Halit in the organization. One did not use telephone for the meetings; at each meeting the date and hour of the next meeting would be determined.

“I learned about the plans for a coup on 12th July 2016, Tuesday. In evening I met with Osman who was the imam of the military and his superior, a man with code name Hakan at an office in a building that was near a medical centre in Tandoğan. Hakan said that there would be a big operation soon against members of Gülen’s organization within the military and that to prevent it the military would seize power on the night of 15th July 2016 at around 3:00. He explained that the order came from Fethullah Gülen Hodja, and that a few brigades would come from the western cities for support. He said that the operation would start with the capture of the General Chief of Staff Headquarters, and then all the other headquarters would be captured. Then martial law headquarters would be established in the cities.”

And who were these ‘elders’ that these officers were attached to?

One of the people arrested for the coup was General Chief of Staff Hulusi Akar’s aide Lieutenant-Colonel Levent Türkkan’s elder in the organisation, Muhammed Uslu. Uslu, who worked as a civil officer at the Prime Minister’s Office Executive Assistants Directorate, had the code name Murat. Uslu gave the name of the civil imam that he himself was attached to and the officers who answered to him. It is interesting that he didn’t even know the real names of some of his ‘subordinates’ within the hierarchy of the organisation:

“Lieutenant-Colonel Levent Türkkan had the code name Ahmet, Mehmet Akkurt had the code name Ramazan, Major Fatih whose surname I did not know had the code name was Adem, the captain whose real name I did not know was code named ‘Yusuf, ‘ a junior officer working at the General Chief of Staff HQ, whose name I did not know had the code name ‘Rauf’…” “Elder Selahattin lives in Çukurambar. Elder Selahattin Abi is attached to Elder A. The highest ranking elder I know is Elder A…”

“Elder” Uslu’s testimony confirms that the organization of the coup was handled by this network of civilian imams.

“One day before 15th July, on the Thursday Elder Selahattin came to my house without giving notice and spoke with some people in my living room. My wife told me when I came home that evening, and was angry at me. She said that Elder Selahattin first came on his own and asked my wife ‘Can I use your living room? I need to have a meeting’. Then my sister in law and my wife went into the kitchen, closed the door. So I do not know who Elder Selahattin spoke to. My wife said that after Selahattin came to the house the doorbell rang a few more times. Normally they do not come to the house when I am not there. This meant that there must have been an emergency situation- such that they had to hold a meeting in my house one day before the coup attempt. I do not know who came to the house.”

In Izmir a high ranking officer who testified to the Republic Prosecutor Berkant Karakaya under the name Kuzgun reveals that one of the elders that he met at a meeting he attended concerning the coup in a civilian house was an elder higher ranking than the others. It was Adil Öksüz

“In this house in Ankara the people I knew were a friend from my year, Sinan Sürer and Ömer Faruk Harmancık. There were also Adil ÖKSÜZ whose name I learnt later, Hakan BIYIK whose name I similarly learned later. Apart from them there was a civilian man with long hair who had a ponytail, around 25–30 years old. In another meeting I went to in Ankara, I was given the mission to take the Marine Corps Admiral Command Director Serdar DÜLGER into custody. I objected and asked whether there would be armed conflict. I was told that the man would be in Izmir, Özdere, at the Air Forces Camp, that I would easily enter, knock on the door, invite Serdar Dülger out and face no problems”

Çetin Acar, who had come to the Ankara Combatting Terrorism Unit Headquarters to give information as part of the 9th December 2015 investigation into the Gülen Organization had said who Adil Öksüz was: ‘He is an Ankara University Theology graduate. After graduating he worked as mullah to Fetullah Gülen for many years in Istanbul. He is an assistant professor at Sakarya University Theology Faculty. After Fetullah Gülen went to the US, Mustafa Özcan became the imam of Turkey and so the position of the imam for the Air Force was transferred to him. I have heard that now he is the imam of the Marine Corps.”

However, Turkey would hear of the name of Adil Öksüz, either the Air Force or Marine Corps imam, only after 15th July 2016.

VII- The Epicentre of the Coup: 1857 Mount Eaton Rd. 18353 Saylorsburg Pennysylvania.

Since July 15th, 20088 military officials from the Turkish Armed Forces have been dismissed on the grounds that they participated in the coup and that they were members of the Gülen cult. The number of people dismissed from the Gendarmerie and the Police Forces is 12985. Close to 77000 civil servants who were identified as members of the Gülen cult based on various criteria including the use of the application Bylock have been dismissed, too.

3665 of the dismissed members of the military, most of whom were arrested, once occupied critically important positions in the army.

About half of the serving generals of the Turkish Armed Forces are under arrest over charges relating to the coup. Among them are heads of departments of Intelligence, Personnel and Planning at the office of the Chief of General Staff as well as air base and naval base commanders. The aides of the seven of the last eight chiefs of general staff were also arrested over charges relating to the coup. The regarding former chiefs of general staff include those who held office before AKP came to power and are known for their identification with secularism.

Among those arrested, there are not only generals who were in Turkey at the time of the coup, but also those stationed abroad in high ranking positions, some of whom are fugitives.

149 of the Turkish military officials who served in NATO in Europe and the USA were called back home. Some of these officials did not come back and are currently on the run.

Admiral Mustafa Zeki Uğurlu, who served at the NATO command in Norfolk, USA sought asylum in the USA after the coup. A warrant for his arrest had already been issued for the investigation of his misconduct in a military espionage case in Izmir. That case resulted in the arrests of Gülenist prosecutors and police officers who had instigated the wrongful arrests of 300 military officers who were framed as members of a prostitution and espionage gang.

Brigadier Şener Topuç, who was the Commander of the Turkish International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, and Cahit Bakır, the Commander of Turkish Task Force in Afghanistan, were called back to Turkey, but they fled to Dubai, where they were arrested at the airport and extradited to Turkey.

It also emerged later that Colonel Muhammed Tanju Poshor, who during past and present presidential offices of Abdullah Gül and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was the Commander of the Regiment of the Presidential Guard, came to Ankara on July 15th from Kosovo, where he served in the International Security Assistance Force and directed the putschists that occupied the headquarters of TRT that night.

What is most striking of all is the fact that the Commander of the Regiment of the Presidential Guard, as well as the President’s military aides who began their duties in 2015, were all arrested over charges relating to the coup when for the past three years the President himself has been in a staunch battle against the parallel state structure of the Gülen cult.

Photo 45: All five military aides of President Erdoğan, who were members of the military that served closest to him, were arrested after the coup.

The Gülenist military aides managed to conceal their true loyalties and were able to work their way into offices closest to President Erdoğan.

The kind of clandestine organization activity that we piece together from all the evidence available and the testimonies made looks like something straight out of a Dan Brown novel.

Soldiers, who already had allegiance to the Gülen cult at the age of 14 when they entered military school, remained subordinate to civilian ‘elders’ throughout their professional lives as military officers. The form of this kind of organizing, the essential principle of which is secrecy, can be compared to a bunch of grapes. Two or three soldiers at most are subordinates to a civilian elder outside the army and not to the soldiers who are superiors and members of the cult, as a result of which, no one knows anyone else beyond their immediate circle.

Who then is at the top of this parallel army of ‘elders’?

General Hulusi Akar, the Chief of General Staff, who was taken into custody during the coup attempt and taken to the airbase at Akıncı, from where the coup was masterminded, answered this question in his testimony at the prosecutor’s office:

Photo 46: General Hulusi Akar taken into custody by the putschists at the Office of the Chief of General Staff…
Video 13: Headquarters of the Chief of General Staff on the night of the coup

“I shouted at them, I said “Who do you think you are? Who really are you? Where are those commanders of forces and that second head that you claim you have assembled? Where are the ministers? Bring forth whomever you say you have. Who is your head and who is your tail?” In reply to this, Hakan Evrim said something like “If you’d like, we can put you in contact with Fethullah Gülen, our opinion leader.” I scolded him and said, “I will not speak to anyone.

Turkey has a society that is divided on many issues and yet there is one thing on which everyone agrees: that the Gülen movement was behind the 15th July coup attempt.

The spokespersons of the four big political parties who came together in the damaged Parliament the day after the coup attemptand the leaders of the ruling party AKP and the opposition parties CHP and MHP (which altogether represent %87 of the electorate) who came together at the Istanbul Yenikapı meeting attended by 5 million people, had no hesitations about saying that Gülen’s organization was behind the coup. The name of the committee set up after the joint proposal of the four political parties (AKP, CHP, HDP, MHP) to investigate the coup was ‘The Commission to Investigate Fethullah Terror Organization’s 15th July 2016 Coup Attempt”

According to several polls that have been conducted in Turkey since July 2016 concerning who is thought to be behind the coup, the percentage of those who believed it was the Gülen Group was as follows: A&G (%88.1), Pollmark ( %88.2), Sonar ( %94), ORC ( %95), Genar (%71)

Still, despite the consensus in Turkey that the Gülen’s Organisation was behind the coup, Western media and decision makers have been hesitant to believe, from the very first day, that the coup was carried out by the Gülenist officers in the army.

More than the coup itself, they have concerned themselves with the civil and army officers who were dismissed; rather than show any interest for the loss of lives of those who resisted the coup, they concerned themselves with the human rights abuses against the army officers in custody. When the Turkish state asked for the extradition of Fethullah Gülen, US officials who have been hosting him since 1999 asked for “concrete evidence, ” and the US media often said that the evidence was not conclusive.

Obama, who condemned the coup two hours after the putsch began later said: “You know, this coup was serious”, Joe Biden visited US’s NATO ally Turkey 40 days after the coup and admitted that they first thought that the coup was “some concoction made up on the Internet and the Web.”

Fethullah Gülen, on the other hand, hosted all the major international networks and newspapers in his Pennsylvania ranch, gave interviews claiming that his organization, which members started to call ‘Hizmet’ later in their development, had nothing to do with the coup, saying the coup looked like a “Hollywood movie’” suggesting that the coup was a false flag operation carried out by the Turkish government.

The fact remains, however, that the traces that the Gülenists left after the coup, and the clear evidence one can see in open access sources, are enough to convince one that it was the Gülenists who were behind the coup.

Adil Öksüz and Kemal Batmaz who were arrested on July 15th, during the night of the coup at the Akıncı air base, had flew from Istanbul to New York on July 11th and come back on the 13rd after staying for only two days in the USA.

Now we can only guess which address they visited in the USA only a few days before the coup: 1857 Mount Eaton Rd. 18353 Saylorsburg Pennsylvania..

This is the real epicentre of the coup, the plotters of which bombed the Turkish parliament and killed 248 people. Turkey’s ally of 65 years hosts its supreme leader.

Photo 47: The villa with its sprawling garden in Saylorsburg where Fethullah Gülen has lived and led his cult since 1999.
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  • Prepared By:
  • Yıldıray Oğur, an Istanbul based journalist with the Turkish daily, Turkiye
  • Ceren Kenar, an Istanbul based journalist with the Turkish daily Turkiye
  • Thanks Tuba Ayaz, Nagihan Haliloğlu and Adam Mcconnel for the contributions to the report.