FETO behind Turkish failed coup attempt

By Saadia Mirza

It started as an ordinary bright day, but the night of July 15th, 2016 arrived dark and heavy on the people of Turkey, they witnessed treachery which planned to take the country back to the dark past.
While President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was on his holidays in Marmaris, a group of plotters launched a coup to overthrow Erdogan’s government. It started at 9 pm when an army major Celebiglu created a Whatsapp group called ‘Yurtta Sulh’ means ‘ peace at home’and added several military officials. The group was created to make announcements about the coup attempt. They informed each other through the group that they have taken over the famous Bosphorous group which unifies East and West sides of Turkey and later a great chaos swept across the country. Soldiers and army tanks took over the roads and public places of Ankara and Istanbul, they were ordered to open fire on the civilians if they come in their way for resistance, and that is exactly what they did. Army aircrafts dropped bombs on several buildings and crowds resulting hundred dead and injured. Parliament was bombarded 11 times, chairman of the Joint chief of staff Hulusi Akar was held hostage.The hotel in Marmaris where Erdogan was staying was also bombed, luckily he left the place 15 minute before the airstrike and was shifted to a safer place.
As the pro-coup military wanted to take over the country, they rushed to seize the flow of information, so a heavily armed troop stormed to Turkey’s national broadcaster TRT, TRT world and other outlets like CNN Turks. They immediately disconnected all the servers and took over the station. They thought that by controlling the news channels and broadcasters they will be able to take the country under control, but they wrongly anticipated the power of social media. Many journalists who were not allowed to use the station found a way to connect to their people through Facebook live streaming. They were determined to capture each and every moment of brutality done by the militants, and nothing was stopping them. They went out in the open and directly recorded the mayhem, thanks to them many civilians became aware about the severity of the situation.
During the time the news of Erdogan’s hotel being bombed made people anxious, they became desperate to know if the President is still alive and safe. While the news channels were trying to connect him, it was difficult to reach the President due to the crackdown. Bureau chief of CNN Turk Hande Firat managed to somehow connect to President Erdogan through FaceTime. In his live address through that he called out the nation to come out on the streets and stand up against the military faction, he said “I want to call my nation. I am inviting them to public squares and airports. Let’s meet up in the squares”. As soon as the news of Erdogan’s address went out, thousands of patriots gushed out towards the streets. They resisted the coup, sacrificed their lives and their loved ones in the process, but the love of the country and their loyalty for their president vanquished all. On that day the people of Turkey proved that they are united against their enemies and they will not allow any power to disrupt the democracy of their country, they will stand strong in front of every storm and together they will save their homeland. Later with the help of the government loyal forces the coup attempt was defeated swiftly. Troops who took part in the coup surrendered. Among them were many innocent and confused soldiers who had no idea they were the part of treachery, saying that they were told about a mission against the terror attack and they had to follow the orders.
It is fairly impossible to carry out a coup attempt of this level without the top authorities involved, so the government agencies started to investigate to capture the culprits. Turkish intelligence found clear evidences of Fethullah Gulen influence behind coup attempt and topple the Erdogan cabinet and destabilizing the country’s economy growth. Fethullah Gulen is a US based Turkish cleric, who has been living in the states in self-imposed exile. There he established an organization that claims it works for social welfare, to promote religion and education and that it is a non-violent organization. However there was significant number of evidences that proved his involvement in the coup attempt of 15th July. The government officially declared his network as Fethullah terrorist organization and his followers as terrorist and threat for the government. FETO has been involved in many state institutions like judiciary and military, Gulen have many of his followers working in governmental institutions. After the coup many faces of FETO members were unveiled, former aide to chief of general staff Gen. Akar, Lt.Col. Levent Turkkan confessed that he was a devoted follower of Gulen and he had been spying for FETO. Similarly there were several suspects in the military appeared to be FETO devotees. An accused militant Maj. Erkan Karlidag has said that “two people came to my home Wednesday. One of them told me that they are preparing a list of 3000 FETO members in the military, will fire them after the upcoming supreme military council in August and that I was also in the list”. After the investigation many of the accused members and soldiers were jailed.
It is not new for turkey to witness military coup, it has faced four civilian governments overthrown by military. In 1960 first coup was launched by a military official unseating President, Prime Minister and many others. In 1971 as a result of economic downturn which led to unrest in the country military decided to take control in their hands, 1980’s violence between two groups provoked the military again to step in. Later in 1997 circumstances led another military coup but this time it had a major support of Fethullah Gulen. His involvement has been written down in many documents.
Even before 15 July incident Turkey’s government know the meddling of Gulen in the state issues and has been asking for US support to arrest Gullen, they again asked for their cooperation but US refused to hand over Gullen saying that there are not enough evidences against him.
Turkey asked all the countries he is in good terms with to shut down all the activities that are associated with FETO. There are hundreds of schools and more than five thousand business across the world that is governed by Gulen. Turkish Ambassador Sadik Babur Girgin said that “we have called on all the friendly countries to prevent activates of this group”. Turkey’s call for support has not been returned unanswered by Pakistan. It not only condemned the coup attempt but also cooperated with Turkey by promising to shut down Gulen’s organization in Pakistan. Several schools were ordered to close and many business institutions were investigated. The decision was taken that the staff of schools will be sent back home by November 20. Girgin said that “we have had good cooperation with Pakistan in every field” and Pakistan proved so by showing the sovereignty and Brotherhood with Turkey. However Pakistani officials believed that shutting down the institutions might possibly create certain challenges, but Erdogan said that “The students in the Pak-Turk schools will be taken care of to the highest standards thanks to joint cooperation”. He further added that Pakistan and Turkey are the brotherly countries they should fight together against those who are trying to make Muslim world a place of hatred terrorism and division. He said the ties of friendship between both counties have become very strong and he hope it will go a long way.

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