Ankara knows location of leading fugitive coup attempt suspect - interior minister

The Turkish government has knowledge on the location of the leading fugitive suspect in the July 2016 coup attempt,  Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said on Sunday.

Adil Öksüz is accused by Ankara of being a senior member of the Gülen movement who masterminded the July 15, 2016 coup attempt to topple the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Ankara designates the Gülen movement a terrorist organisation and has pursued a worldwide crackdown on the group.

“We know where Adil Öksüz is. But let that information remain with us. Just as we follow the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) and the DHKP-C (The Revolutionary People's Liberation Party/Front), we do the same with FETÖ (Fethullahist Terror Organisation),’’ Sözcü newspaper reported Soylu as saying. 

Video footage shows Öksüz at the Akıncı military base, the airbase from which the attempt was launched, on the night of the coup. The former theology professor at Sakarya University was captured at the base then released two days later and has been a fugitive since. 

“Let our citizens [hearts] be at rest. We will leave no obstruction at home were FETÖ is concerned. The United States continues to host their ringleader… ’’ Soylu said, in an apparent reference to Fethullah Gülen, the U.S.-based cleric and leader of the Gülen movement. 

Over 77,000 people have been imprisoned over links to the Gülen movement and some 150,000 public employees have been suspended or sacked as part of the Turkish government’ crackdown on the group.

Turkey has previously claimed that Öksuz lives in Germany and demanded that he be extradited.