Role of 'covert imams' in FETÖ's failed coup in Turkey

Covert imams of the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) who played an instrumental role in the preparation phase of the military coup in Turkey in July 2016, were caught red-handed at a military airbase in the capital Ankara which the putschists used as their command center.

FETÖ and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, which left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.

Ankara accuses FETÖ of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.

According to the information gathered from the indictment, opinion and reasoned decisions about the coup attempt compiled by Anadolu Agency correspondents, FETÖ's covert imams Adil Oksuz, Kemal Batmaz, Nurettin Oruc, Hakan Cicek and Harun Binis who operated within the civilian wing of the terror group, started coup preparations after a green light from the U.S.-based FETÖ leader Fethullah Gulen.

Frequent international travels

The trips covert imams have made while preparing for the coup took place first in December 2015.

They traveled to the U.S. several times in just 7 months for consultation meetings with FETÖ leader Gulen who lives in a compound in Saylorsbourg, Pennsylvania.

Hakan Cicek went to the U.S. on Dec. 28, and Adil Oksuz, Kemal Batmaz, and Nurettin Oruc went to the U.K. from Istanbul Ataturk Airport on Dec. 31, 2015.

Oksuz returned to Turkey on Jan. 4, Oruc and Batmaz on Jan. 5 and Cicek on Jan. 6, 2016.

Later, Cicek flew to the U.S. from Istanbul on Feb. 8, Batmaz on March 12 and Oksuz on March 17, 2016.

They flew back to Turkey a week later, Oksuz on 21st, Oruc on 22nd, Batmaz 23rd and Cicek on 24th.

On April 21, Hakan Cicek left for the U.S. again to return to Turkey on May 7, 16 days later.

Batmaz traveled to the U.S. on May 30 and Cicek on June 19.

Oksuz and Oruc also traveled to the U.S. on June 20.

While Oruc and Batmaz returned on June 24, Oksuz and Cicek got back to Turkey on June 25.

The last trip to the U.S. before the coup was by Batmaz and Oksuz from Istanbul Ataturk Airport on the same flight on July 11, 2016.

After Gulen approved the final stage of the preparations, Oksuz and Batmaz returned to Turkey on July 13, again aboard the same plane.

On 19 March 2016, Oksuz, Batmaz, Oruc, and Cicek were busy organizing the coup in the U.S. with Gulen who addressed his loyalists within the Turkish Armed Forces in a video on the same day.

Upon FETÖ leader's call on the members of the organization, soldiers and secretive cells across Turkey held numerous meetings to execute the coup as flawless as possible.

From July 6 to 9, Oksuz headed the meetings in Ankara where various high-level military personnel affiliated with FETÖ and the other covert imams gathered to discuss the distribution of the roles.

However, when the treacherous coup attempt eventually failed, all of the coup planners were caught red-handed at the Akinci military airbase.

Once they got arrested, Oksuz, Binis, and Batmaz ridiculously claimed that the reason they were at the Akinci Base in the middle of the night was looking for a piece of land for sale in the area.

Oruc also mocked the intelligence of the Turkish nation and said he was filming a documentary.

The civilian wing of the organization already knew about the coup

By using the media outlets the terror group owns, the civilian wing of the organization tried to create a perceptual ground in the public in order to manufacture consent for the upcoming coup.

For instance, FETÖ's main media outlet "Zaman" published a corporate advertisement of itself on October 15, 2015, where a baby, symbolizing Gulen, starts laughing at the end of a long and alarming siren one hears only at times of extraordinary emergency.

"Gulen" literally means "laughing, smiling" in the Turkish language.

In the same ad, the curfew on the empty streets was signaling the martial law that usually comes after successful military takeovers.

Exactly after 9 months and ten days from the ad, FETÖ launched the coup attack on July 15, 2016.

Months before the coup, FETÖ 'journalists' and 'academicians' were beating the drums for war

Only a month before July 15, speaking to "Can Erzincan TV", one of the FETÖ outlets, Osman Ozsoy's words shed light to the plans of FETÖ.

"Look, it is very easy to finish all of this. This process will end very soon with the permission of God. God will bring light to this country. Ankara thinks that nothing will happen to Turkey any longer. This is the view of Ankara. Well, I wish I were a colonel instead of a professor. I would have contributed more to this process now. Look, it is not an exaggeration. This process is over and we will take care of what happens after. Let's run a subtitle on TV saying that there is a curfew tomorrow and look if anyone dares to step outside. All coups happen on Fridays. The homes of imams [mosque personnel] are in the mosque courtyard and they are even afraid of going to the mosque for prayer on Fridays. Turkish people do not have any sensitivity to take to the streets for democracy. Pretty nice days are coming. Busy days are awaiting our friends in the Hizmet movement."

'Our people do not know how to take cover'

Abdulkerim Balci, a FETÖ columnist who used the alias "Kerim Balci" while writing to "", openly expressed his knowledge of the coup in his July 14 2016 article -- "Erdoğan on exile and preparations for the post-Erdoğan era".

In the initial hours of the coup, when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called on the people to take to the streets in defense of democracy, Balci said: "The president acts irresponsibly," on a FETÖ YouTube channel, STV Media, which was offering a live broadcast that night called "Time for Independence: July 15, 2016".

"Asking unarmed civilians to take a stance against armed soldiers, as it was done in Syria and Egypt, is a grave mistake. Our people do not even know how to lie on the ground, let alone taking cover. Most of our people haven't done military service, they paid instead. The nation cannot be asked to challenge the army."

His words showed how much the FETÖ loathes and disrespects the Turkish nation's will for freedom.

Bulent Kenes who used to be an editor of FETÖ's English-language mouthpiece "Today's Zaman", was also aware of the coup long in advance.

Kenes shared his opinions via his social media account on July 6-7 by saying:

"There is no longer a good exit! Bad, worse and the worst exit remains. Let's call coup the bad one, imagine the others."

He went on to intimidate the people by the following words:

"Either something will happen and it will not go on like this, or we will become a country like Syria or Iraq. The choice is yours."

Only a day before the coup, Tuncay Opcin -- a senior member of FETÖ's media wing -- tweeted "they will bust [them] in their beds and will hang [them] by dawn".

The tweet referred to coup plotters' aspiration of completing their operation against the government and Erdoğan.

'Buy me a ticket from DC to Istanbul'

Another fugitive FETÖ member Emrullah (Emre) Uslu said on Twitter: "Please buy me a ticket from DC to Istanbul between July 22 to August 12," hinting that a coup is in the making by FETÖ.

Emre Uslu continues his FETÖ propaganda and smear campaigns against the elected government and the president of Turkey from the U.S.

Murat Aksoy, a "journalist" who was tried for being a member of FETÖ and sentenced to 25 months in prison, was another foreteller of the coup.

In Sept. 2015, appearing on a TV program called "The Spirit of the Time", Aksoy said: "The state tradition is looking for a way out and the state has a plan B. It is really not something we want but nowadays, the coup option is on the table in Ankara".

His words demonstrated the level of the disillusion among FETÖ members in their way of viewing FETÖ as the real state.

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