Evidence of Gülen's Involvement in July 15 Coup AttemptJuly 14, 2017
On the night of July 15, a group of putschist soldiers who had infiltrated various ranks of the Turkish military from the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) network over many years carried out an attack against the government and Turkey’s democracy. The attempt was to take over the state and destroy its institutions in general, not just the government, at the expense of 249 lives and injuring more than 2,000 people, using heavy weaponry, including fighter jets, helicopters and tanks. For many around the world, this was the first time they heard about FETÖ, although this group was known to the Turkish public. The threat it posed had been acknowledged by the government and steps were being taken to eliminate their dangerous influence in state institutions.
Among the steps being taken against infiltration and the group’s threat to Turkey, the state’s top security body, the National Security Council (MGK), decided to recommend the government declare FETÖ a terrorist organization. The recommendation, made at the meeting on May 27, 2016, was implemented without any delay. Prior to this step, FETÖ members were already accused and convicted of a string of crimes, including illegal wiretapping, fabricating evidence and blackmail.
Although the FETÖ network’s most famous act was the latest coup attempt on July 15, it has functioned as a criminal enterprise for decades in Turkey under the leadership of Fetullah Gülen, who has lived in Pennsylvania, U.S., since 1999. In its strictly hierarchical structure, Gülen is the ultimate leader of FETÖ. He is known to have a say in almost all steps taken through his micromanagement. The group was successful in infiltrating public positions, including the police, judiciary, military, education, financial sector and media over decades, as it was a call made by Gülen to establish a state within the state, or what has come to be known as the “parallel structure”.
In order to appear as a legitimate entity and appeal for support from the general public, FETÖ mostly institutionalized its activities among educational activities, from schools to dormitories, under the guise of an establishment that aims to help students with a moderate Islamic approach. However, this was only a cover to attract recruits and gain financial support from people and exploit their good will. Meanwhile, key figures in the hierarchical structure, which starts with Gülen and goes down to local figures, were able to hide their true faces and only acted upon receiving orders from the person who would be in charge of the duty. Just like the cells of a typical terrorist group, FETÖ’s operatives laid dormant until they were needed, waiting for years and sometimes decades until they were called on to perform their duties. FETÖ’s member base had gone up to the hundreds of thousands over the years, with members in almost all levels of state institutions. This is why the numbers of dismissals when the government began to take action against the “parallel structure” members seems so large.
Many of those suspected of involvement in the coup have been rejecting the accusation, despite clear and tangible evidence showing their links to the bloody coup attempt and FETÖ network. FETÖ leader Gülen has himself rejected the links and the accusation that he masterminded the incident. He initially claimed the coup was a ploy by the government, but when that was found not to be credible and prosecutors started to uncover evidence of direct links to the coup attempt, he changed tact and started to argue that while some FETÖ members could have been involved, he had no involvement in the act and those followers who were involved did not take orders from him.
In the following pages of this report, the DS Centre for Policy Studies has shared information on who Gülen is, how FETÖ members infiltrated the military over the years by committing a range of crimes, the timeline of the July 15 coup attempt, explanations of what happened on that night, and clear evidence of FETÖ’s staging of the coup attempt. The evidence includes a range of material such as witness testimonies from court records and security camera footage of putschists abducting anti-coup figures and firing on civilians, which counters their claims of having no links to the coup attempt.