In a night of mid July a faction of the Turkish military tried and failed to stage a coup to overthrow Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and tanks, helicopters and soldiers clashed with police and protesters in the streets of Istanbul and Ankara.
Erdoğan delivered an iPhone address to the nation, calling on people to resist the coup and defend their democracy. Thousands turned out, and the president landed in Istanbul, where he denounced the “treason” by the rebellious faction.
After the incident, Erdogan demanded the United States arrest or extradite an exiled Islamic cleric he blames for a coup attempt that ended with nearly 200 people dead.
The cleric, Fethullah Gulen, living in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania, suggested that overthrow and assassination attempts have been staged in the past though he did not directly accuse Erdogan of deliberately plunging Turkey into chaos.
The upheaval exposes deep discontent within the military ranks. But less than 24 hours after a night of violence, questions remained about who was behind it and why they decided to act now.
On this matter, Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) got interview Turkish Political Columnist and Middle East Political History Researcher Saim Tut regarding the incident. Here’s the story:
MINA: What Happened in the last coup attempt?
Saim Tut: A group within the Turkish army associated with Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) headed by Fetullah Gulen, currently residing in the U.S. State of Pennsylvania, attempted a coup in Turkey on July 15. The coup attempt, which claimed the lives of 240 people so far, failed thanks to the exemplary resistance of Turkish nation together with other state institutions.
MINA: What is FETO?
Saim Tut: The Gulen cult, referred as FETO, is being directed by primary school graduate Fetullah Gulen who is believed to be a messiah by his lunatics. This cult emerged in 1970s as a movement providing education services. FETO promotes itself as a provider of education and its members, governed by a strong infrastructure, introduce themselves abroad as volunteers of education and peace. Yet, when we look at their organization, they conceal their real identities and settle into the critical state institutions like the army, judiciary, security and intelligence units and bureaucracy with a variety of identities (leftist, rightist, liberal, pious). This situation reveals the actual objective of the organization, which presents itself as the Hizmet Movement in the countries it operates.
MINA: what is its objective?
Saim Tut: It infiltrates into strategic institutions by seemingly functioning as a school, education/culture centre, professional organization or NGO with the objective of seizing control of state institutions. Under their deviant religious ideology, they consider everything as legitimate to engage in all sorts of self-defensive deception, conspiracy, trap and illegal activities to achieve their ends. Their ends justify means.
They want to redesign the world according to beliefs and thoughts of their so called “World Imam”. With years of confidential training and dissuasion activities, they have gained a high level of professionalism beyond the comprehension of ordinary people. Its members operate with a radical “devotion” and see themselves as “chosen ones”, they switch identities and commit all types of illegal acts including murder if it is needed.
MINA: what has it done so far?
Saim Tut: Particularly in the last 10 years, their judges, prosecutors and security officers serving a hidden objective have sentenced countless soldiers, police, bureaucrats, journalists, academicians and authors to penalize servitude with the objective of seizing control of all state authorities. Considering himself strong enough to overtake the system, FETO made his first coup attempt in February 2012, justifying this attempt with National Intelligence Organization (MIT) Chief Hakan Fidan’s tasks aimed at resolving the Kurdish issue.
The second coup attempt was made on 17-25 December 2013 when he attempted to put members of the government under arrest on the basis of fake corruption allegations. FETO presents itself as a pro-peace religious movement and abuses the concepts of tolerance and dialogue. Yet it actually engages in illegal activities by settling into security, judiciary and intelligence institutions of the state.
MINA: What Happened On 15th July?
Saim Tut: On July 15th, 2016, the FETO nesting within the army attempted a new coup with armed equipments such as fighter jets, tanks and helicopters. Tanks ploughed over the citizens on the streets protesting the coup. FETO bombed the Presidential Palace, National Assembly, police and public buildings. The people in the streets protesting the coup in Ankara and Istanbul with fighter jets and also they attempted to assassinate President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The coup attempt failed due to the resistance of the citizens together with other state institutions. During the coup attempt 173 civilians, 62 policemen and 5 soldiers have lost their lives. During the attack of the coup plotters 1491 people were also injured.
Had the coup attempt been successful, thousands of innocent people would have lost their lives, democracy and freedom would have been abolished and a military dictatorship in line with the deviant religious views of Fetullah Gulen would have been established. This brutal coup attempt has been strongly opposed by all segments of society with different views from political parties, trade unions, civil society organizations to the media and the business world. At this point, the bloody coup has been repressed, government agencies have largely returned to their normal operations.
MINA: Is FETO considered as a threat for Turkey ?
Saim Tut: As seen in the recent coup attempt FETO who wishes to establish a military dictatorship based on a deviant religious ideology accepts no limits, principles or rules to achieve their ends. In the attempt of July 15th, the attacks were directly aimed at killing unarmed innocent people. It organizes in strategic fields with which it should not be related in any way as an NGO/movement that voices concepts such as dialogue and peace. Based on many years of training and techniques they received, they are very well on hiding their identities and deceiving others and they deny everything they do. Due to their deviant religious understanding, hidden agenda and use of every means to achieve their goal. This organization is a threat to all governments and humanity in the countries they operate, not just for Turkey.
MINA: What do you think should be done?
Saim Tut: The entire humankind should put up a joint fight against organizations like FETO, ISIS and Boko Haram, which interpret religion according to their own deviant belief. We will never forget the support given to the noble resistance of our nation by our citizens abroad, our kin, our relatives and all those international organizations and people who respect democracy, national will, human rights and freedoms. We, hereby, condemn once again this inhumane bloody coup attempt, wish God to have mercy on our martyred civilians, policemen and soldiers, and wish the wounded a speedy recovery.(R04/R03)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)