FETÖ link suspected in attack on US embassy in Ankara
Mesut Hasan Benli - ANKARA
Police also found a photo on Ersin Bayram’s phone showing him with a pile of money.
One of the suspects arrested over a recent attack targeting the United States embassy in Ankara had links to the Fethullahist Terror Organization (FETÖ), according to a police report prepared for the prosecution.
Ahmet Çelikten, 39, and Osman Gündaş, 38, were arrested after six shots were fired from a white vehicle at the U.S. embassy’s main entrance in Ankara at 5:30 a.m. local time on Aug. 20. Three bullets hit the metal door and glass panel of the security cabin, causing no casualties.
“I had called Osman that night and we met. We drank and drove around. We talked about the dollar crisis, about the U.S. threats against Turkey and about the recent statements of the U.S. president. Then we got angry and decided to shoot the U.S. embassy under the influence of alcohol,” Çelikten said in his police testimony.
Gündaş’s employer Ersin Bayram was arrested after the interrogation of the two suspects.
Police expanded the investigation this month and prepared a report for a prosecutor’s office ahead of the trial.
According to the report, police found evidence of Bayram’s links to FETÖ, including photos, notes and apps.
When asked about a photo from 2015 in which he was seen with John Bass, then-ambassador of the U.S., at a reception in the embassy, Bayram said: “It was a cocktail of the Turkish American Chamber of Commerce and I represented my company there.”
The police report described the chamber as “an NGO founded by FETÖ and managed by one of their most influential figures, Faruk Taban.”
The report also stressed that Bayram had searched for “U.S. embassy” keywords immediately after the attack and took screenshots of news about the detention of the two suspects.
In his police testimony, Bayram denied the charges. He admitted that he was “a member of a FETÖ-linked association and a subscriber of FETÖ publications,” but he claimed he severed his links to the group after the February 2013 corruption investigations launched by FETÖ members into government officials.
“I had googled the attack because my girlfriend had told me that he saw my employee on television. I did not talk to them before the attack and I did not direct them,” he added.
Police also found a photo on Bayram’s phone showing him with a pile of money.