Adil Öksüz was top military Gülenist – ex-Zaman reporter

A former Ankara reporter for the Gülen-movement linked newspaper Zaman has claimed that disappeared theology lecturer Adil Öksüz was the Gülenist in charge of the movement’s entire structure of cells within the military.

“Adil Öksüz is known as the (group’s) air forces ‘imam’. No. In fact he was made the imam of the entirety of the Turkish Armed Forces in 2015,” Ahmet Dönmez, who works for the movement-connected think-tank Stockholm Centre for Freedom and news website Tr247, said.

Öksüz was a senior figure within the Gülen movement, or as the Turkish government calls it the Gülenist Terror Organisation (FETÖ), and has been accused of masterminding a failed July 2016 coup. He was released after his capture at the Akıncı military base, from where the coup was believed to have been launched, two days after the coup and was last seen two further days later.

Dönmez suggested that there was a wing from within the Gülen movement that carried out the coup, and that remaining members should form a “self-critical” community. 

“Who cleared the territory for Öksüz before (the failed coup attempt of) July 15? How were those who could have stopped Öksüz, who would not allow this coup attempt, who could have stopped the plot, and who could have seen the trap eliminated?”

In addition, Dönmez cast doubt on how easily Öksüz travelled at a time when the Gülen movement was being carefully monitored in Turkey – and how he travelled to the United States three times with Turkish Airlines, which the group had taken the decision to boycott, in the six months preceding the coup attempt.

However, he said, Öksüz should not be used as a scapegoat for the coup plotters.

“There are those who acted together with Öksüz to the last day and who are now still active in the community overseas,” he said.

“(Gülen’s) assertion that ‘If some of our people joined (the coup) they have betrayed (the movement)’ should not be left in the air. At the very start (the movement) should have launched an internal investigation.”

Dönmez maintains that "Gülen knows everything. He made the necessary assessments. However, he cannot air his grievances. As I have mentioned, that is his Achilles' heel. That’s why it cannot be blasted away. There is some kind of embarrassment there, I think."

There is an ever-growing criticism within the Gulenists since the failed coup attempt of 2016. The Gulenists still deny they were the main actor behind the attempt, but they admit that members of the movement were involved.

Here Dönmez confirms for the first time as an insider that Adil Öksüz was a very important actor within the movement, and that he was responsible for the group's most secretive structure.

There is an ever-growing criticism within Gulenists since the failed coup of 2016. Gulenists deny they were the main actor behind the attempt.