Turkey’s Justice Minister Bozdağ accusses US and German intelligence services of lying

Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ.

Turkey’s Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag has claimed that both German and the US intelligence have clear information that Fethullah Gülen and its supporters planned, organized and demonstrated the coup attempt that martyred 249 people in July 15 of last year

 “I am sure about that,” said Bozdağ as he was speaking in an interview with Erdoğan regime’s propaganda machine Anadolu Agency’s Editors’ Desk in Ankara on Tuesday.

Bozdağ has claimed that the US-based Fetullah Gülen directly ordered the coup, adding that most of Turkey’s detained generals were Gülen supporters.

Turkish military has 356 generals in total and more than 168 of them have been arrested and kept in prisons with the allegation that they were followers of Fethullah Gülen and involved in the failed coup attempt on Jul 15, 2016.

Ankara officially requested the US authorities extradite Gülen to Turkey but there had been no concrete move from the administration of former President Barack Obama. Bozdağ has also said he would hold a telephone conversation with his US counterpart on Tuesday evening to discuss the issue. “I will invite him to visit Turkey,” Bozdag added.

Head of the US Congress House Intelligence Committee, Devin Nunes, has said on Sunday that he has not seen any evidence showing Fethullah Gülen’s involvement in a failed coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016. When asked about some reports in the Turkish media during an interview on Chris Wallace’s ”Fox News Sunday” which was aired on FOX TV on Sunday morning, claiming that the US administration would extradite Gülen, Nunes said, “I haven’t seen the evidence for that, that Gülen was involved in anything like that [the failed coup attempt].”

Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş has also said on Monday that the remarks of the head of the German Federal Intelligence Service (BND) over the role of Gülen in the July 15 coup attempt “mean more hostility with Turkey” and deemed the words “unacceptable.”

Speaking to reporters in Ankara, Kurtulmuş said “I would like to say that we have difficulty to understand why on earth he said those remarks. That means taking hostility with Turkey one more step further, and backing FETÖ totally,” and asked that “Was it supposed to be 250,000 and not 250, in order to prove that FETÖ was behind it?”

Meanwhile, the German charge d’affaires was summoned to the Foreign Ministry in Ankara on Tuesday following the remarks by his country’s intelligence chief. “All evidence consisting of detainees’ statements, records of communication before and after the coup attempt and the FETO-linked civilians caught at Akıncılar air base lay forth the relationship between the putschists and FETO,” the Foreign Ministry claimed in a statement.

‘FETÖ’ is a pejorative acronym that Turkey’s political Islamist government has used to designate the Gülen movement as a terrorist organization. Whereas, Gülen and his sympathizers have been a vocal critic of Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on corruption and aiding and abetting armed Jihadists in Syria. Gülen, dubbed as one of “The World’s Top 20 Public Intellectuals” in a list put together by the magazines Foreign Policy and Prospect in 2008. The Gülen movement focuses on science education, community involvement, interfaith and intercultural dialogue. Under the direct influence and directives of Erdogan, Turkish government has launched a witch hunt campaign to root out alleged supporters of Gülen movement in Turkey and abroad.

The head of the Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service (BND), Bruno Kahl, has said that Turkey could not convince them that Muslim scholar Fethullah Gülen was behind a failed coup attempt on July 15 despite accusations against the Gülen movement. Kahl has  said in an interview published by German news magazine Der Spiegel on Saturday that he had not seen convincing evidence that Gülen was behind the failed coup.

Kahl said that despite Turkey’s efforts at different levels to convince Germany that Gülen was the mastermind of the coup, they were not persuaded. According to Kahl, the failed coup attempt served as a pretext to accelerate the purge. BND head said that what is being witnessed in the post-coup era was going to happen anyway, though maybe not with the same depth and same radical steps, in reference to an unprecedented crackdown of critics in Turkey.

In response to a question on the Gülen movement, which has been designated as a terrorist organization by President Erdoğan, the head of German intelligence defined the movement as a civilian association that provides religious and secular education through a number of educational institutions.

Earlier in January, a report prepared by the EU Intelligence Analysis Centre (IntCen) revealed that although President Erdoğan and the Turkish government immediately put the blame for the July 15 failed coup on the faith-based Gülen movement, the coup attempt was staged by a range of Erdoğan’s opponents due to fears of an impending purge, according to a report by The Times newspaper.

Also, the Aldrimer.no website reported on Jan. 25 that NATO sources believe the coup was staged by the president of Turkey himself.

Speaking to vocaleurope.com, a former Turkish officer who served at NATO headquarters in Brussels but was sacked and recalled to Turkey as part of an investigation into the failed coup on July 15 claims that the putsch was clumsily executed and never intended to bring down the government, but rather served as a vehicle for President Erdoğan to eliminate opponents and the ultranationalists to take a prominent role in the military and impose their “Eurasian” agenda on the country.

A report published by the German Focus magazine in August claimed that Turkish government members decided to put the blame for the coup attempt on Gülen half an hour after the uprising and agreed to begin a purge of Gülen followers the next day.

The failed military coup attempt on July 15 killed over 240 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement despite the lack of any evidence to that effect.

Although the Gülen movement strongly denies having any role in the putsch, the government accuses it of having masterminded the foiled coup. Gülen, who inspired the movement, called for an international investigation into the coup attempt, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

Turkish Islamic scholar Gülen called for an international investigation into the coup attempt, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a great gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

In the currently ongoing post-coup purge, over 135,000 people, including thousands within the military, have been purged due to their real or alleged connection to the Gülen movement, according to a statement by the labor minister on Jan. 10. As of March 21, 94,982 people were being held without charge, with an additional 47,128 in pre-trial detention according to turkeypurge.com figures.

A total of 7,316 academics were dismissed, and 4,070 judges and prosecutors were purged over alleged coup involvement or terrorist links.

March 21, 2017

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