Domestic intelligence within the Turkish military

Domestic intelligence within the Turkish military

After the failed July 15, 2016 coup attempt, members of the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) pulled themselves together after a short-lived shock. They moved onto a second stage. 

Amid continued gaps in our knowledge of what happened during the coup attempt, Gülenists are trying to spread the perception that the coup was actually a “controlled coup” planned by Erdoğan to clear out the opposition. They now have a political pillar for their claim. Republican People’s Party (CHP) chair Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu vocally leading with claims that it was a “controlled coup.”

On July 15, 2016 this nation engaged in a fight that will be written with golden letters in the history of democracy. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan led the resistance against the coup. Full stop. 

A group acting on the instructions of the imam in Pennsylvania brought our country to the brink of civil war and chaos. They have blood on their hands. But instead of accounting for their murders, they are trying to call the Turkish government to account. 

Those who were able to hide themselves for 40 years have now started deception in the courts. One of the names who apprehended Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar in his office, Mehmet Dişli, has even claimed that he himself was first taken hostage. 

They have been preparing the “controlled coup” claims for some time. The statement from witness Major O.K. that said he told them “there could be a coup activity” was the opportunity they have been waiting for. 

Now they are targeting the top commanders. They are sending “we will bring you down here” messages from the dock. 

This perception operation that FETÖ members are engaged in at court has been noticed. Ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) deputies are closely monitoring the hearings in Sincan and in Silivri. 

AK Party Deputy Group Chair İlknur İnceöz said the AK Party has become an intervening party in the coup trials. As a result, every day 10 to 15 deputies will voluntarily observe the court proceedings in Ankara and in Istanbul, İnceöz said. 

In this new phase, while fighting against perception operations we also have to settle accounts with the reality of what happened on July 15, 2016. 

Why was the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) not able to receive any intelligence of coup preparations, which started on December 2015? Despite a tipoff that came to the MİT, and despite the measures taken by the Office of the General Staff, why was the coup not prevented? Was the instruction that prevented the MİT from conducting intelligence activities inside the military effective in the failure to learn about the coup plot in advance? What is the nature of this secret instruction? 

I don’t want to create an opportunity for a new conspiracy theory. But I learned about the instruction, coded MY 114-1(C), during my research on the coup attempt. According to this instruction, the MİT was forbidden from gathering intelligence in the Turkish Armed Forces. One former defense minister found this wrong, saying “we receive intelligence on the names who will be discussed for promotion at the [Supreme Military Council] YAŞ from the MİT. The MİT that provides this intelligence obviously knows about the Armed Forces.” This is an important point. But without gathering intelligence from inside the headquarters and barracks, it is not possible to know what kind of activities are going on in Armed Forces.

“They were expected to try to do something. They were involved in very intense activities during May. Something was expected to happen before or after the scheduled YAŞ meeting,” one military jurist has said. So there was some mobility in the headquarters and barracks, but without monitoring these places this intelligence could not be collected. 

If the MİT cannot do it, do the Armed Forces conduct this monitoring of itself? Do such units exist? I don’t know.

Raising these questions does not amount to “not trusting” the Turkish Armed Forces. But an institution that has conducted many coups in its history should be monitored closely. Whatever what lacking or not functioning on the road to July 15, it all must be scrutinized.  

There are many grey areas in the coup attempt that we still have to bring to light. But while doing so we should not question the reality of what happened on July 15, 2016.