Opinion, Politics, Turkey

Evidences in FETÖ Indictments

Turkey's fight against the Gülenist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) continues. Courts are accepting indictments against suspects which participated in the July 15 coup attempt that left 249 martyred and 2,186 wounded.
16 min read

Turkey’s fight against the Gülenist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) continues. Courts are accepting indictments against suspects which participated in the July 15 coup attempt that left 249 martyred and 2,186 wounded.

After the coup attempt 41,326 people were detained. Among the detainees, there were 2 Constitutional Court, 131 Supreme Court, 43 Council of State and 5 Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors members, along with 2 four-star generals, 6 major generals, 10 lieutenant generals and 184 brigadier generals.

Detainees not giving concrete information about FETÖ indicates that the terrorist organization is still influential. Despite facing life sentences, detainees are not talking or being forced to not talk about FETÖ.

Accused of planning and enforcing the attempted assassination of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Marmaris, and the killing of Erdoğan’s bodyguard Mehmet Çetin, Colonel Şükrü Seymen defended himself in court by saying “I have attempted a coup; even if the punishment is death, I do not regret it.” This defense is important in terms of how FETÖ is organized as Seymen refrained from uncovering who was behind the heinous act of the coup.

Radio Talks Reveal the Bloodthirsty Face of the Organization

The joint indictment on the events took place in the General Staff compound and the addendum of the indictment on Army Aviation Command revealed the bloodthirsty face of the terrorist organization through visuals and radio commands about the detainment of ranking officers by the putschists and slaughter of civilians.

The indictment regarding Army Aviation Command, where putschists lifted off with military helicopters that fired on civilians, clearly states that Gülenist soldiers were informed about the coup attempt prior to its execution. There are striking expressions.

The Rise and Fall of FETO in Turkish Politics

Lieutenant Emre Erkan, a training officer at Army Aviation Command, said “today is the bloody Friday” to his company during muster on the morning of July 15. Ramazan Turgut, who expressed that he was serving as an artilleryman in Cyprus and started to serve at Army Aviation Command as a trainee from April 14, 2016 onwards, said “During the muster at 08:00 on the morning of July 15, Lieutenant Emre Erkan told the whole company that that day was the bloody Friday. We had training at 13:00. I attended the said class.”

Levent Çağrı Çakır also expressed that he attended the muster on the same morning and affirmed that Emre Erkan said “it is going to be the bloody Friday.”

In the indictment, it is expressed that Emre Erkan took the keys of the armory without any record keeping by Quartermaster Özgür Oprukçun. On the very same day, Battalion Commander Lt. Col. Yasin Candemir ordered Emre Erkan to distribute the weapons to the soldiers, Emre Erkan told the soldiers that “the terrorists might attack in the guise of police and soldiers,” and that soldiers collected ammunition and magazines from the room of the lieutenant colonel.

Second Lieutenant Tolgahan Akbuğa said “When we entered the armory, Lieutenant Emre Erkan gave each of us a G3 without looking at their serial numbers.”

Private Mustafa Turan said that Lt. Col. Özcan Karacan, who was tasked with dispatching and managing the helicopters on the night of the coup attempt, was giving orders to higher ranking officers. Turan added that it was obvious Karacan was giving orders to the personnel near the main entrance. “Lt. Col. Karacan came to me and said ‘if any police comes here, they are terrorists in guise. I order you to shoot them; we won’t let them capture here.’ I told him I would rather shoot myself than shooting at the police. He yelled at me and said ‘you don’t know the punishment of insubordination,'” said Turan.

Five Civilian Gülenists at Akıncı Military Base, the Heart of the Coup

The center of July 15 coup attempt was the Akıncılar Military Base. Images of Adil Öksüz, a Sakarya University staff member who led the coup attempt and was revealed to have visited the FETÖ leader Fethullah Gülen in Pennsylvania, with the putschists at the base were included in the indictment.

FETÖ members Kemal Batmaz, Harun Biniş, Nurettin Oruç and Hakan Çiçek were also confirmed to be at the military base. The aforementioned were found out to be in connection with Adil Öksüz and ordering ranking officers at the base despite being civilians, all of which were recorded via security cameras.

Kaygusuz: Hit the police department, destroy the compound

In the indictment on the events that transpired at Akıncı Military Base, there are visuals of putschists bombing Ankara Police Headquarters with military aircraft and radio communication between putschist pilots.

Dispatching and managing F-16 aircraft from Akıncı Base and relaying all attack orders to pilots, Staff Captain Mustafa Mete Kaygusuz ordered Pilot İlhami Aygül to hit the police department and destroy the compound.

An excerpt from the radio conversation between the base and the pilots:

Pilot İlhami Aygül: We are observing the clash in front of the police department.

Mustafa Mete Kaygusuz: Hit the police department, destroy the compound.

Aygül: Roger, we are firing on the area of conflict. Please confirm.

Kaygusuz: Confirmed.

Aygül: Roger. Is the police department compound the first or the second building near ANKAmall? We can also fire on the zone of conflict.

Kaygusuz: Fire on where the conflict is, where concentrated fire is taking place.

Aygül: Roger that. They are firing towards the road from the police department. We are firing on the compound.

Kaygusuz: You’re free to bomb the compound.

Kaygusuz: Have you hit the police department.

Aygül: We will be attacking it in two minutes.

Kaygusuz: Let’s hurry up. One more bomb, two bombs.

Aygül: Come again?

Kaygusuz: One more bomb there.

Aygül: Two bombs for the conflict zone.

Mustafa Mete Kaygusuz later confessed; he admitted that he became connected with FETÖ during his high school years and that he ordered pilots to bomb targets on the night of the coup attempt.

Prevent the Aircraft with the Presidential Seal from Flying

Talking with Oğuz Alper Emrah, one of the indictees of the Akıncı indictment, Ahmet Tosun described the presidential aircraft: “The aircraft you’re to prevent [from flying] is probably the presidential aircraft, it will have a seal on it. It’s a huge aircraft with the presidential seal on it.”

Ahmet Tosun said that the suspect Ahmet Özçetin, the staff colonel who served as the 4th Main Jet Operations Commander, was responsible for the F-16 bombing orders that martyred civilians.

“Ahmet Özçetin told me that the aircraft the president is in took off from either Antalya or Dalaman and asked me to investigate it, tracking the radar,” said Tosun.

Tosun added that the bombing of the interchange, Police Special Forces and Police Aviation Headquarters near the presidential compound, along with the supersonic fly-past over Kızılay and the General Staff compound were ordered by Özçetin.

President Erdoğan was the real target of the putschists

The real target of July 15 coup attempt was President Erdoğan. They were aiming to detain or assassinate him, as it would render their coup successful.

Two F-16s took off from Diyarbakır Airbase on July 12 and photographed the hotel President Erdoğan was staying at. On July 13, again two F-16s under the control of Air Forces Command Intelligence Department scanned the hotel and its vicinity.

Colonel Ali Yazıcı, who was Erdoğan’s Head Military Aide at the time, learned where Erdoğan was staying and relayed the information to Brigadier General Gökhan Şahin Sönmezateş, while departing from Antalya to reach the hotel in Marmaris on the night of July 15.

Statements of the bloodthirsty putschist Zekeriya Kuzu are included in the indictment on the assassination attempt of President Erdoğan, which resulted in two police officers being martyred.

In the indictment, it is stated that former master sergeant Zekeriya Kuzu, who is nicknamed “Pasha” and is the “base imam” for the Çiğli 2nd Main Jet Command Base, said the following to the police officers: “You will go through hell, it’s all starting now. (…) you said you were going to eradicate us, now we will eradicate you; if you even dare to raise your heads, we will kill you. Where is he [Erdoğan], which helicopter picked him up, to which airport he will land, when did the helicopter take off?”

Moreover, it is highlighted in the indictment that the putschists which were the part of the assassination team stepped on the heads of police officers with boots, fired around the officers and brutalized them.

Sergeant Aydın Özsıcak and Lt. Col. Davut Uçum, who were among the assassination team, also became the suspects of a reopened investigation on August 9, 2016 as FETÖ was connected to the death/assassination of Muhsin Yazıcıoğlu and his five companions.

Özsıcak and Uçum were charged with stealing Argus5000 CE and SKYMAP (which has the ability to record) from the helicopter wreck that became the grave of Yazıcıoğlu and his five friends on March 25, 2009; however, the investigation had resulted in dismissal of charges.

Giving his statement to Kahramanmaraş Deputy Public Prosecutor Kemal Yalçın, Özsıcak alleged that him being in the team attempting to assassinate Erdoğan and stealing equipment from the helicopter are “nothing but a coincidence.”

Putschists Coordinated the Dink Murder

Meanwhile, in the indictment of the Hrant Dink murder case, it was revealed that FETÖ planned the murder.

Participating in the coup attempt and captured wounded after the clash at Ankara Gendarmerie Command, Lieutenant Muharrem Demirkale, who is the Commander of Separatist Activities Intelligence Team at Istanbul Gendarmerie Intelligence, was revealed to be coordinating gendarmerie that had a part in Hrant Dink’s murder. Moreover, it was found out that Demirkale spoke with Specially Authorized Prosecutor Zekeriya Öz seven times on the phone the day before and after the murder.

Sergeant Yavuz Karakaya, who was detained on the charge of cooperating with the putschists at the Ankara Gendarmerie Command on the night of the coup attempt, was found out to be observing Ogün Samast and Hrant Dink before, during and after the murder.

FETÖ Dictated Three Books to Obscure the Dink Murder

In order to prove that police officers that are affiliated with them had nothing to do with the Dink murder, FETÖ made three writers write book on this murder. Adem Yavuz Arslan wrote Bi Ermeni Var, while Nazlı Ilıcak wrote Her Taşın Altında The Cemaat mi Var? and Bayram Kaya wrote Kördüğüm: 21 Numaralı Suikast Yolcusu. The FETÖ link with the murder was obscured through the said books.

FETÖ’s Media Organization Deciphered

Investigations into FETÖ’s media organization underscored how the Zaman daily influenced national newspapers and TV channels.

The indictments clearly show that Zaman acted at the behest of FETÖ in the media.

Publishing Deniz Baykal’s sextape, snatching of Adil Öksüz who is the black box of the coup attempt and serving manipulated images of the Hrant Dink murder were some of the operations that FETÖ executed in the media.

The official documents show that 1,000 of the Zaman 2,500 employees were journalists, while most of these journalists worked in various national newspapers and TV channels. Majority of these journalists were placed in various media outlets.

Trained at the Zaman daily, Cihan News Agency and Samanyolu TV, these journalists were put into crucial positions within TRT and many other national dailies and TV channels during the Ergenekon and Balyoz trials.

Between the years 2008 and 2014, almost all of the security and judicial correspondents of various newspapers and TV channels were originating from the Zaman daily. FETÖ realized the perception management through these journalists who were placed in national media outlets. Many other correspondents were polished by FETÖ. Even during the December 17-25, 2015 coup attempt, FETÖ correspondents were actively working in national media outlets.

For instance, let’s take a look at the indictment regarding the Hrant Dink murder case: it is stated that FETÖ placed Ercan Gün, who worked 14 years for Zaman, to FOX TV 11 days before the Dink murder and that the montaged photo of Ogün Samast holding a Turkish flag was published on FOX TV through his efforts.

Working for Zaman since 1993 and staying for 14 years, Ercan Gün’s transfer to FOX TV on January 8 2007, just days before the Hrant Dink murder, is evaluated as a deliberate effort to obscure the evidence. FOX TV News Director Ercan Gün was detained as a part of the investigation on the murder; however, FOX TV administration did not sever its ties with Gün. He is still shown as the news director in the staff page of the TV channel.

Ankara Representative Erdal Şen of Habertürk Daily Helped Adil Öksüz Escape

Originating from Zaman daily, Erdal Şen was revealed to be an active participant of the coup attempt.

Şen helped Adil Öksüz, FETÖ’s “Turkish Armed Forces imam” who was detained at Akıncı Airbase in Ankara only to be released with a suspicious decision, escape. It was found out that Şen helped Adil Öksüz hide in an apartment in the Üsküdar district of Istanbul.

Erdal Şen’s wife Emine Şennur Şen is also Adil Öksüz’s sister-in-law. Emine Şennur Şen was apprehended for using FETÖ’s ciphered communications application, ByLock.

At the Habertürk Headquarters on the Morning of the December 17 Coup Attempt

Administrators of the Habertürk daily and TV channel also attract the attention in the indictment about FETÖ’s media organization. It is stated that administrators who have transferred from Zaman to Habertürk knew of the 17-25 December coup attempt in 2013 beforehand.

Witness testimonies reveal that Habertürk TV News Coordinator Oğuz Usluer, Chief Editor Abdullah Kılıç and News Director Cuma Ulus came to the building at 07:00 on December 17, which was unusual for them, and worked on police summaries throughout the day.

It was also recorded that Usluer, while he was the broadcast coordinator of Habertürk TV, warned Editor Mehmet Yeşilkaya, as Yeşilkaya tried to cut off the reporter who was reading Hakan Şükür’s resignation letter; thus, Usluer allowed the whole letter to be read. Moreover, Usluer referred to the resignation letter as “a manifesto.”

Ankara Representative who published Deniz Baykal’s sextape is apprehended because of a FETÖ link

Yener Dönmez, who founded the Vahdet daily and closed it down after the July 15 coup attempt, published Deniz Baykal’s sextape on the website called Habervaktim while he was the Ankara representative of the Akit daily.

Deniz Baykal was forced to resign from his post of chairman in Republican People’s Party after the publishing of the said images. Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu replaced him. FETÖ published images and documents of setup trials on the website Habervaktim.

Dönmez was detained as a part of the investigation into the images that allegedly showed Deniz Baykal. Dönmez was found out to be using ByLock. Moreover, Dönmez confessed that Deniz Baykal’s tape was sent to him by FETÖ-affiliated journalist Cevheri Güven. “Cevheri Güven called late at night. He said ‘something was sent to you, have you seen it.’ I learned that images of Deniz Baykal were relayed to the newspaper’s report line and then we decided to publish them,” said Dönmez. These quotes are directly taken from Dönmez’s statements.

As a part of the investigation into Deniz Baykal’s tape, 37 Gülenist police officers, including Ömer Altıparmak who is the former Head of the Intelligence Department at Security General Directorate, were apprehended.

Images, information and documents of Ergenekon and Balyoz trials are deleted

FETÖ completely deleted the recorded videos, information and documents of the Ergenekon and Balyoz trials.

The indictments regarding Hasan Hüseyin Özese, the Head Judge of Istanbul 13th Heavy Penal Court, and Hüsnü Çalmuk, a fellow judge, both of whom were tasked with the Ergenekon trial and were apprehended after the July 15 coup attempt, clearly state that FETÖ obscured the evidence.

Supervisory Board of Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors found out that the Istanbul 13th Heavy Penal Court irreversibly deleted all information and documents on computers by using the Wipe application before delivering them for inspection.

The court had video recorded all Ergenekon hearings that started on October 20 2008 and ended on August 5 2013. Even during the breaks between hearings, witnesses and secret witnesses were recorded. Through the deletion of the information and documents, along with video records, uncovering of any irregularities and mistrials is made impossible.

After the failure of the 17-25 December coup attempt, FETÖ formatted computers at Istanbul Security Directorate with the Wipe application and deleted the records of illegal wiretappings and technical surveillance.

The second declaration of the coup was to be announced on CNN Türk and FOX TV

The information that Gülenists regrouped after the coup declaration announced on TRT failed and that they wanted to announce a second one on CNN Türk and FOX TV was also included in the indictments.

In the joint indictment on the events which took place in the General Staff compound, it is underscored that the former Commander of Northern Sea Area Command Rear Admiral Ömer Faruk Harmancık, who commanded the coup at the Akıncı Airbase, called CNN Türk, FOX TV and the Honorary President of Doğan Holding Aydın Doğan’s bodyguard on the night of the coup attempt.

The statement of Major General Mehmet Dişli, who is the head of Strategic Transformation Department at the General Staff, is included in the indictment. He testifies that Harmancık said “we have prepared a second declaration and a broadcast vehicle will come soon; we want you to read this” to Chief of Staff Hulusi Akar.

After this exchange, it was found out that Harmancık called the CNN Türk building, which was raided by the putschists at 03:23, at 03:28 and 03:29 on July 16. Moreover, he called the line belonging to Doğan Holding which was being used by the security team in Bodrum at 06:34.

Aydın Doğan was on vacation in Bodrum during the coup attempt. Doğan stated that the line Harmancık called twice was being used by his security detail in Bodrum.

On the other hand, Harmancık called FOX TV’s Ankara office at 06:24. As it is known, the coup attempt in Ankara ended after Hulusi Akar was retrieved from Akıncı Airbase with a helicopter at 09:30.

It was revealed that Harmancık talked with Lt. Col. Ümit Gençer, who dictated the coup declaration at 23:30, eleven times. Ankara Public Prosecutor’s Office is continuing to investigate the communication traffic of Doğan Holding and FOX TV on July 15.

All of the information gathered in the text only covers a part of the statements given to the security forces and the prosecutor’s office. As more indictments are submitted to the courts and more Gülenist putschists confess to their crimes, the background of this bloody coup attempt will be revealed.

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Kenan Kıran is an experienced journalist, who began his career at Milli Gazete in 1994. After serving as the News Director at Yeni Akit Newspaper, Kıran is currently the Chief of Exclusive News at Sabah.