Nbc article gives incomplete information about Turkish coup attempt and ‘crackdown on US diplomatic mission workers’
On 16 September 2018, NBC News published an article about the political situation in Turkey after the failed coup attempt of 15 July 2016, the subsequent period of the state of emergency and alleged human rights abuses. Yet, supporting its claims, the article provided incomplete information on certain subjects.
‘Fetullah Gulen denies involvement in coup attempt’
The article states that Fetullah Gulen, leader of what Turkey calls the Fetullah Terror Organization (FETO), a shadowy cult movement which is accused of orchestrating the failed coup attempt on 15 July 2016, rejects claims of his involvement in the coup attempt.
However, it is clear that members of FETO who infiltrated in the Turkish Armed Forces overwhelmingly participated to the coup attempt. There are also strong suspicions that Fetullah Gulen knew about that coup attempt beforehand and actually was the one ordering it.
Levent Turkkan is a former lieutenant colonel in the Turkish Army. He was the aide-de-camp of then chief of general staff Hulusi Akar. Turkkan took Akar captive and forcibly took him to the Akinci Airbase in Ankara. He was arrested after the coup attempt failed. Turkkan confessed that he was a Gulenist. Turkkan is reported to have said that he had been a loyal member of the Gulen Movement since his youth. He also confessed to spying on former Chief of Staff General Necdet Ozel between 2011 and 2015. “I was spying on [former] Chief of Staff Necdet Ozel all the time. I put a bug in the room in the morning and took it back in the evening hours,” Turkkan said.
Kemal Batmaz and Adil Oksuz, two civilians believed to have directed soldiers on behalf of FETO, were caught by CCTV cameras at the 143rd Fleet of the Akinci Air Base, the command center of the putschist soldiers, on the night of 15 July 2016.
Adil Oksuz was an assistant professor of theology at Sakarya University and Kemal Batmaz was a former manager of the Kaynak Kagit Company which had publicly known ties with FETO. He visited Fetullah Gulen frequently in his mansion in Pennsylvania. On 1 January 2016, he arrived again in the US and when he was asked about his purpose of visit at the airport security, he replied “staying with Imam Fethullah Gulen in Pennsylvania.”
As for Adil Oksuz, he has pictures showing him kneeling before Fethullah Gulen in his mansion in Pennsylvania. It was revealed that Oksuz was one of the longest-serving followers of Fetullah Gulen and beside his job as scholar of theology, he had another secret mission for the organization: coordinating the members of FETO who could infiltrate in Turkish Air Force.
Kemal Batmaz and Adil Oksuz traveled to the US between 11 and 13 July 2016 - two days before the coup - on the same plane. The indictment against Batmaz and Oksuz stated that they took this trip to get the approval from their leader Fethullah Gulen regarding the final plans of the coup.
The Gulenists signaled that they would try a military coup against Turkey’s democratically elected government. Osman Ozsoy, a Gulenist and an academic, spoke on a Gulen-affiliated channel one month before the coup attempt and said “I wish I was a colonel. I could serve this country more.” When the broadcaster asked what he meant, Ozsoy said everything should not be openly said on TV. “Do not overestimate the public support, announce that there will be a curfew tomorrow morning and look if there is anyone taking to streets,” he added.
Who is Enes Kanter?
The article also mentioned the Turkish NBA player Enes Kanter and described him as “a Turkish national who has long been an outspoken critic of Erdogan.” However, it fails to mention that Kanter is a well-known Gulenist. In so much that Kanter changed his surname to Gulen and he stated that he would even sacrifice his life and his family for Fetullah Gulen.
The article stated that Kanter was indicted for “insulting the president.” However, it fails to mention that the indictment provided that Kanter was also a user of ByLock, an encrypted smartphone application exclusively used by Gulenists to exchange secret communications. Click here to learn more about ByLock.
Claim: ‘Turkey’s crackdown has even reached inside US mission in Turkey’
The article falsely presented the situation of the arrested locally employed staff of a US diplomatic mission in Turkey as a ‘crackdown.’ It states that three Turkish employees working in the US diplomatic missions have been arrested and also gives the name of Hamza Ulucay, a Turkish national who worked in the US consulate of Adana (the article wrongfully stated that he was working in the US Consulate of Ankara) for more than three decades.
Ulucay was arrested for the accusations of links to the PKK, as stated by the article. However, the article did not make any reference to the substance of the charges against him.
Ulucay is accused of "inciting the public to rally" after the shooting of a senior PKK militant in anti-terror operations. The reports indicate that Ulucay traveled to the southeastern city of Mardin, where a senior militant who was implicated in a string of terror attacks code-named "Behzat" was killed, and orchestrated pro-PKK rallies to denounce the killing of Behzat.
The article did not even give the names of the other two arrested staff. One of them is Metin Topuz. Metin Topuz was a Turkish employee in the department of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in the US Consulate in Istanbul for 35 years. He was arrested on 4 October 2017 on charges of espionage and links with the Gulenists.
There are evidences that Metin Topuz was in constant contact with FETO members who had infiltrated Turkish law enforcement and judiciary. The prosecution indictment stated that 58-year old Topuz had contact with 121 high-ranking FETO members who were using encrypted communication application ByLock and helped the FETO suspects to flee Turkey, especially for those who fled to the United States.
The other employee who went “unmentioned” in the article is Nazmi Mete Canturk. The prosecutors summoned Canturk, the vice director of security in the US Consulate of Istanbul, in October 2017 over his links to FETO after Metin Topuz gave his name during his interrogation. It was also revealed that Canturk had contact with notorious FETO members such as Mithat Aynaci, the expelled police officer who helped the putschist soldiers wanting to take over the Istanbul Police Headquarters on the night of July 15. Aynaci was caught inside a tank, wearing military uniform.
Another FETO member whose contact with Canturk was detected is the former police commissioner Zeki Bulut, the man who planted hidden recording devices in the office of then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Canturk did not turn himself to the authorities and did not leave the US Consulate in Istanbul until January 2018. At the end, the US authorities themselves turned him into Turkish law enforcement on 31 January 2018 and he has been put under house arrest.