25 ‘imams’ run FETÖ activities in Eskişehir, secret witness says
ESKİŞEHİR – Anadolu AgencyA secret witness testifying on the activities of the outlawed Fethullahist Terror Organization (FETÖ) in the northwestern province of Eskişehir has revealed information regarding the group’s local structure, including its methods of recruitment and fundraising.
Followers of U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, who was accused of orchestrating the failed coup plot of July 15, were administered by two so-called “principality imams” in Eskişehir, the witness code-named Adil Gerçek told security authorities. One “imam” was responsible for Anadolu University while the other oversaw the organization’s activities at Osmangazi University.
The group’s “principality imams,” also known as “regional imams,” oversee smaller regional groups made up of four followers each. According to the witness, a total of 25 “imams” were active in the province and received salaries from funds raised in Eskişehir.
“These people also have insurance provided by the cult [FETÖ]. They receive a salary of up to 45,000 Turkish Liras each month,” Gerçek was quoted as saying. Gerçek also claimed that he had perceived the organization as a “good-willed institution that helped people in need” up until the night of the bloody attempt.
The witness revealed that FETÖ had a widespread network actively seeking to recruit students from high schools, cram schools and university freshmen classes.
“Regional imams” were notified whenever a student from a FETÖ-linked school or cram school enrolled at a university in a different province, Gerçek said. “Upon this, people were tasked with going to the student’s hometown, meeting with their parents and ensuring that they would stay at dormitories run by the cult.”
The witness also claimed that the group’s followers spent time around bus terminals and college campuses during registration in order to establish contacts with students by promising them a room at their dormitories – with scholarships, if needed.
“The expenses of dormitories and houses are paid with ‘zeal’ money raised from tradesmen and money paid by students,” Gerçek said, adding that students who were provided with a scholarship were then asked to tutor middle school or high school students.
According to the witness, there are around 200 “trustee” businessmen in Eskişehir – a name given to businesspeople who provide financial assistance to FETÖ. There are some 150 workers and a hundred civil servants who provided financial aid as well, Gerçek stated.
“The principality imams notify trustee businesspeople of the amount they need to pay as zeal money each year. This figure depends upon the financial strength of each person,” the witness said, adding different people were in charge of raising money from workers and civil servants.
The secret witness also reported that FETÖ was taking measures in the face of the nationwide crackdown in order to prevent the seizure of documents that could be used as evidence against the organization.
“A follower is assigned as an inspector to conduct searches in the homes of people working for the cult and destroy documents that might cause trouble for the sect or reveal the identities of its followers,” he said.