US team’s visit to Turkey ‘important’ for FETÖ probe: Minister
A U.S. delegation’s visit to Ankara as part of a probe into FETÖ will lead to further developments in the case, Turkish justice minister has said.
Speaking to the reporters in Ankara on Jan. 5, Abdulhamit Gül said “FETÖ has been proven a terrorist group and U.S. acknowledgment in this regard is important.”
FBI officials and a prosecutor from the United States on Dec. 3 attended the interrogation of Kemal Batmaz, one of the key suspects of a failed coup attempt in 2016 who was charged as the “civilian imam” of FETÖ, and two secret witnesses in position of observer.
Batmaz is accused of being the “second-in-command” of what the government calls FETÖ, which is widely believed to have been behind the coup attempt of July 15, 2016.
Turkish justice minister also said the U.S. authorities in Ankara requested to see some digital data on FETÖ’s link to the deadly coup attempt.
Gül said Turkey was ready to provide all necessary documents to the U.S. for its investigation into the FETÖ, state-run Anadolu Agency reported.
Two prosecutors, one from New York and one from Washington, came to Turkey, Gül said and added: “They saw [the evidence] by themselves and asked questions. It was like if everything happened in front of the eyes of a prosecutor in New York.”
“So, I think after what the U.S. delegation witnessed, the U.S. investigation [into FETÖ] will give way to different developments,” Gül said.
Gül said Turkey’s demand for extradition of U.S.-based Fethullah Gülen, alleged leader of FETÖ, was a separate issue but U.S. judicial authorities’ conclusion would have positive effects on it as well.
He said 241 out of 289 cases related to FETÖ’s 2016 coup attempt were concluded so far.
Justice minister said a total of 3,908 prosecutors and judges were sacked and 31,088 people were remanded or jailed due to their links to the FETÖ.
Ankara also accuses FETÖ of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, including the military, police, and the judiciary.