Will political links of FETÖ be revealed?

Will political links of FETÖ be revealed?

It has been more than three months since a group of military personnel loyal to U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gülen attempted to stage a coup in Turkey on July 15, killing around 250 people and wounding more than 2,000. 

They used F-16 warplanes, tanks and armored vehicles during the coup attempt, bombing parliament and many other state buildings, raiding the Turkish Radio Corporation (TRT) in Ankara as well as the CNN Türk and Hürriyet offices in İstanbul. 

Such a terror attack was foiled thanks to the Turkish people’s bravery as well as the security apparatus loyal to the Republic of Turkey and its constitution.  

In the aftermath of the coup attempt, the government launched a massive investigation into those involved in the coup attempt, mainly from the Turkish Armed Forces, the police department and the judiciary. Apart from those who were physically involved on the night of the coup attempt, the investigation has also embroiled thousands of civil servants who are believed to be followers of Gülen movement or those who have been educated in Gülen-affiliated schools. 

The government made clear that those who cut their links with the Gülen movement after December 2013 would not be probed, setting only this as a criteria. This was clearly a move to save many senior Justice and Development Party (AKP) officials who have been in very close dialogue and cooperation with this network until very recently. 

Apart from the courts, parliament also launched its own inquiry into the July 15 coup attempt. A panel established by the representatives of the four parties at parliament began its work by listening to former high-ranking officials. It is very interesting that the panel has not opted to listen to former interior, justice or defense ministers who have served since 2002 in order to better understand the roots of Gülenist infiltration into state institutions.   

One of the former chiefs of general staff, Hilmi Özkök, who served between 2002 and 2006, recalled at the panel that Turkey’s top security board, the National Security Council (MGK), urged the government in 2004 about the activities of the Gülen movement but was ignored. Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım reacted furiously to Özkök’s statement, claiming that the MGK’s urging was directed against religious communities. 

However, Özkök was in fact right in his statement, as the MGK was specifically urging the government on the actions of a specific group: The movement of Fethullah Gülen. 

It was very natural for the government to ignore the warning, as the Gülen movement was its main ally in setting its order in the country. This alliance continued until very recently, and we realize now that almost the entire civil service was filled with Gülenists over the years. 

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu claimed on Oct. 28 that there were some AKP officials who have been using the ByLock communication system, an application used by Gülenists. He said their names had been removed from the lists sent to the prosecutors. He also raised doubts over the July 15 coup attempt by recalling the involvement of Major General Metin Dişli, the brother of Şaban Dişli, a senior AKP official. 

It is strange to think that the ongoing prosecution – which has so far jailed teachers, bureaucrats, academics, journalists, non-governmental organization activists, and businessmen – may not touch any politicians.