TURKEY

FETÖ ringleader Gülen micromanaging behind the scenes

FETÖ RINGLEADER GÜLEN MICROMANAGING BEHIND THE SCENES

Even though he remains secluded on his estate in rural Pennsylvania, Fetullah Gülen keeps close tabs on the activities of his cult, according to the testimony of one witness in a trial against a FETÖ member

The testimony of a witness whose identity remains hidden in the indictment prepared against a former prosecutor showed Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) leader Fetullah Gülen micromanaging the cult from his U.S. retreat in rural Pennsylvania.

The indictment accuses former Ankara Prosecutor Dursun Aygör, who remains in custody pending trial, of using the ByLock app on his phone, and links to FETÖ, which is responsible for last year's deadly coup attempt on July 15.

However, the most interesting part of the indictment is the testimony, where the witness details several meetings where he came across FETÖ members. The first meeting came before December 2013, when FETÖ-linked police officers and prosecutors launched a broad investigation into the government based on bogus evidence, seen as a judicial coup attempt that was followed two and a half years later by a bloodier military version.

The witness used to work at the Silivri Couırt House before being transferred but kept in contact with his previous associates. He was invited to the home of one associate, who told him Aygör and another individual he knew were also coming.

Soon after they got together, a person he had never met with an attaché case and a laptop arrived, with the host introducing him as "Erdal." When asked, Erdal said he was a teacher, but kept asking him about his cases and other judicial matters. The witness said it was obvious Erdal knew the others well. It is known that teachers and academics form some of the most senior cadres of the cult. The cult's imams, akin to department heads, are usually teachers or academics. For example, FETÖ's military imam, Adil Öksüz, was a theology academic.

Erdal talked about a judge, Sedat Sami Haşıloğlu, who he identified as a relative of "our esteemed elder," code for Gülen. "Our elder, to show the immense importance he attaches to the Ergenekon Trials, had asked for his [Haşıloğlu] appointment to the case," he told the gathering, according to the witness.

The Ergenekon Trials, which caused untold anguish to dozens of innocent officers, who spent years in jail on trumped up evidence, is now known to be part of FETÖ's plan to rid various state agencies of everyone it deemed as opponents to allow its own operatives to advance. Currently, two of the three judges on the Ergenekon case are in jail pending their trial, while the third, the same Haşıloğlu, is a fugitive.

At the same meeting, Erdal said Gülen asked for the prosecution of the gendarmerie commander of Istanbul and when the prosecutor in charge dropped the charges, he was reprimanded by his superior who is currently in jail.

The witness said he saw with his own eyes a note being passed from Erdal to the host, who was a judge, in the same meeting, where Erdal said: "Brother, this list came from our officer brothers. The indictment came to your court. It will be good if you accelerated its approval, because our friends can't get their promotion with these people's arrest." The judge just folded the paper and put it in his pocket, the witness said.

"I was extremely uncomfortable with the conversation and got up. I asked for my leave and as I was leaving, Erdal came and asked me, 'Did you handle the case in Erzurum involving Ömer Faruk Eminağaoğlu's insults against our friends? I told him I had plenty of cases and warned him that no one should ask a judge such a question."

Afterwards, he admonished the host for inviting such a person. Later Aygör invited him to lunch. "Soon after we sat down, the same Erdal appeared out of nowhere. Aygör invited him to dine with us." Erdal then asked him to intervene in a case, which was part of FETÖ's December 2013 attempt to topple the government, to ask the prosecutor involved not to drop the case. "Our elders and leader ordered us to reach Ekrem Aydıner. You worked with him, can you intervene on our behalf?"

The witness said: "I turned to him and told him: 'What you are suggesting is a crime. Do you have any idea what you are asking me to do?' I got up and left. Aygör followed me. Such meetings seemed more arranged than coincidental."

The witness said FETÖ operatives within the judiciary, who received their orders from their elders, operated through a network of acquaintances and tried to get what they wanted through persuasion and coercion.

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