Turkey Continues to React To 2016 Coup Attempt
Turkey has revived dialogue on the 2016 coup attempt, bringing new accusations to the table. Particularly, the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s office publicly accused Graham Fuller, an ex-CIA analyst, of playing a role in the July 2016 coup attempt. The warrant for his arrest includes charges of espionage, violations of the constitution, and attempts to overthrow the Turkish government. Leaders in Ankara particularly purport that Fuller maintains ties with Fethullah Gülen, an exiled Turkish cleric. The cleric, in turn, has been accused of orchestrating the coup. Turkey presumably founds its accusation in Fuller’s actions. He wrote a letter of support for Gülen’s U.S. green card application in 2006, and published an op-ed in the Huffington Post, which argues that Gülen’s civil movement is “moderate, tolerant, non-violent, and open to dialogue”. In the piece, he criticizes Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for being a politician that is merely interested in party politics.
He most notably wrote that President Tayyip’s “sweeping purges” and “the pall of fear and uncertainty” were destroying Turkey. According to a New York Times article, at least 140,000 people in Turkey have had their passports cancelled, and more than 100,000 people have been suspected of being part of the coup attempt. The article further notes that at least 71,000 people have been detained, and 41,000 arrested. It highlights that 6,000 people in academia have lost their jobs, along with 4,000 judges and prosecutors. The piece notes that universities, schools, television channels, newspapers, magazines, news agencies, and radio stations have been shuttered. This all occurred in the aftermath of the coup attempt, as suspicion begot persecution. The targeting of these individuals is arguably proof of the broader issue that Fuller described in the piece. Even so, Turkey chooses to take aim at him. Fuller has dismissed the accusations casted out by Turkey, noting in an emailed statement that “he was speaking to a group of 100 people in Canada” whilst the coup was underway. While Turkey continues to scrutinize the former CIA analyst, it has also pursued a compensation policy, in efforts to regain the value of various assets and revenue that was lost due to the coup attempt.
Initially, Ankara intended to sell almost 600 of more than 850 companies that were seized following the coup. Such companies are collectively worth more than $13.2 billion. At present, Turkey has moved to reopen inquiries into costs incurred on state institutions and assets (e.g. buildings and equipment). In addition to the extensive compensation policy, legal mechanisms have brought about swift repercussions on the individual level. According to Anadolu Agency, a state-run, Turkish news agency, an Istanbul court handed down life sentences to 28 individuals alleged to have attempted to seize an airport during the coup attempt. Elsewhere, in the Samsun Province, a former police officer and an ex-prosecutor were charged with partaking in terrorist activity. Moreover, a former member of the Turkish Parliament received a six-year sentence for using ByLock, an encrypted cellphone application, and alleging membership in a terrorist organization. The Turkish Supreme Court has held that ByLock is sufficient evidence of membership in the Fethullah Terrorist Organization (FETO). Such repercussions only give credence to conceptions of the Turkish regime that Graham Fuller, and many others, continue to disseminate.