General Yasar Guler says FETO is one of the most complicated and organised terror organisation that has become a global problem.
Turkey's Commander of the Gendarmerie Forces, General Yasar Guler said on Tuesday that FETO members were behind the July 15, 2016, coup attempt.
Guler, speaking in Washington on Tuesday, said that on the night of the coup he was detained by a masked group of ten people and the treatment he faced with was not the treatment that "a Turkish soldier would even dish out to an enemy".
Guler put the blame for the coup attempt squarely on US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, leader of the FETO. Gulen is accused of orchestrating the attempted coup on July 15, which claimed 250 lives, and left more than 2000 wounded.
"These people were not ordinary people. These people were trained special forces people," the general said.
Speaking at the Politics, Economy and Society Research Foundation's (SETA) Washington DC office, the general said he was approached by a soldier dressed in civilian clothes. The soldier should have been in Istanbul at that time, but was there in front of Guler in his office in Ankara.
" 'Don't worry commander, this is a drill,' he said to me. Then I realised that we are facing a coup."
The man was, Mehmet Akkurt, a soldier under Guler's command.
According to Guler, he refused to do what Akkurt and his fellow coup plotters demanded and after refusing, he was shoved to the ground and handcuffed.
The coup plotters aimed to transfer the Guler from the Gendarmerie headquarters to another place, but on the way they encountered resistance from "patriotic soldiers", tells Guler.
"The soldiers had closed the door because they did not want to let them out of the building and Akkurt got out from the car and shouted ‘Open the door! If not, I'll shoot you.' And he did. That's when crossfire started."
Guler said that when he heard that somebody opened the car-door he hit the soldier sitting next to him and after the coup was stopped, the car was shown to him and "I can tell you without exaggeration, the car was full of bullet marks."
"We miraculously survived the bullets." Akkurt did not.
"After the firefight at the entrance, the coup plotters realised they could not get me out. They forcibly dragged me to another vehicle and took me to another location inside the barracks. After a little while, a helicopter came and I was taken to the centre of operations for the coup plotters, the Akinci airbase. I was confined to a room there. After my confinement, F16s that were being readied took off. I found out later that me, being brought to the base was just one of the steps in their plan. They waited till I was taken prisoner before starting the next phase of their operation. They also brought chief of general staff Hulusi Akar to the same location, which I found out later. But just like an honour bound Turkish soldier should, he resists the thugs and their demands and does not cave an inch."
Akinci airbase is on the outskirts of Turkey's capital city of Ankara.
"When looking at the personnel numbers for Turkish Armed Forces (TAF), it is clear this is a very small gang inside the TAF. The tactic they used here, was one of using of deadly force at the key points they needed to capture -- taking over media outlets and controlling the information, and conveying to the Turkish people and army this is a coup being carried out by the TAF in its entirety."
FETO is ‘Beta version of a terror group'
The commander stressed the coup attempt was different than others because it was led by FETO linked soldiers.
"Think about this, a well-trained, high educated fighter jet pilot gets the order to bomb his own country's parliament and he does not interrogate it in his mind and speak about a presumption of innocence," Guler said of the coup plotters, who have defended themselves in court with the claim that they simply followed the orders.
He said that terror organisations such as Daesh, PKK, Al Qaeda are classic terror organisations, but that FETO had evolved differently to these organisations and were more advanced.
"But since 1980, Turkey has witnessed a beta version of these terrorist organisations. He, at first is seemingly a simple mosque imam (Fethullah Gulen), who is a member of the the Religious Affairs Directorate in Turkey." This, he said, would then progress to the point where the cleric had subtly, but effectively assumed a leadership position among his followers. This was how FETO evolved.
Guler stated that in general terrorist organisations have more structured and globalised, trying to develop new strategies and methods, adding that FETO is one of the most complicated and organised structures.
He warned that it was a mistake to simply view FETO as another relief organisation. It was also, he said, a mistake to view July 15 as an ordinary failed coup. He said that looking at FETO in this light would be a big mistake for future generations.