The government of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan mobilized al-Qaeda militants during the events of July 15, 2016 when a false flag coup bid orchestrated by his intelligence and military chiefs was put into motion, a Nordic Monitor investigation has revealed.
Jihadist militants were unleashed into the streets of Istanbul and Ankara, leading to the murders of unsuspecting and unarmed cadets who were shuttled on busses to Istanbul in the middle of the night for a drill. A similar plot was put into motion in Ankara, where troops were deployed to respond to a terrorist attack on key military installations. Some of them were killed after laying down their arms when they were confronted by civilians who were armed by the police and mobilized to clash with the troops.
Not only were autopsies not performed on the deceased in most cases, but no ballistic examinations or hand swabs of possible perpetrators were conducted to ascertain who was responsible for murders, either. To cover all that up, President Erdoğan issued an executive decree providing blanket amnesty to those civilians who were involved in the murders. As a result, no criminal investigation was launched into the jihadist thugs who were roaming free on the night of July 15.
The testimony of two al-Qaeda suspects in a trial held at the Ankara 4th High Criminal Court in November 2016 revealed the bitter fact about how they were mobilized on July 15. The case started as a criminal investigation in 2012 as part of a crackdown on al-Qaeda cells that were active in recruiting and moving jihadists into Syria. It morphed into the indictment of 24 suspects, with trial proceedings beginning in the fall of 2016. None of the suspects were kept in pre-trial detention, similar to many al-Qaeda cases in Turkey, where jihadists were released pending trial after a brief detention.
Fatih Ziya Tunç, a suspect who traveled to Syria, claimed he was simply providing medical services for humanitarian reasons there. He added that he was in the streets during the July 15 failed coup events and granted veteran status by the government. Another suspect named Ersin Miraç Karaaslan also revealed that he was fighting for Erdoğan on July 15 and acquired veteran status as well.
According to wiretap records reviewed by Nordic Monitor, Tunç had been an active member of an al-Qaeda-linked Turkish association called Garip-Der (Guraba Muslims Association, or Garipler Yardımlaşma ve Dayanışma Derneği). The head of Garip-Der, Abdurrahman Koç, was killed in 2014 while fighting the Basar al-Assad regime along with foreign jihadist groups in Azaz. The police surveillance on August 30, 2012 showed both Tunç and Karaaslan meeting with their leader Koç at a café in Sıhhıye, a short walking distance to many government buildings and embassy compounds. Tunç and Karaaslan kept meeting in various locations according to the investigation file.
The group has organized rallies in front of the Russian, French and US embassies to protest military operations against al-Qaeda groups in Mali, Syria, the Caucasus and other places. For example, Tunç led a protest at the US Embassy on December 23, 2012 to show their support for the al-Nusra front. He was joined by Karaaslan in another protest held at the US Embassy on September 16, 2012. The two organized a public funeral prayer service on August 24, 2012 in the courtyard of the Hacı Bayram Veli Mosque for Turkish al-Qaeda militant Fahrettin Konuralp Memeoğlu, who was killed in Syria during the clashes.
The physical surveillance of the group conducted by the police on November 18, 2011 and April 20, 2012 showed Tunç had meetings with other al-Qaeda figures in a mosque located in the Cebeci Asri Cemetery in Ankara. Other members were identified as Ömer Belül, Osman Akyıldız, Mehmet Akif Akçan and Seyit Ural. In another surveillance on Nov. 25, 2011, Tunç was recorded while meeting with some 15 to 20 people in a safe house located in the Hacilar neighborhood of Ankara’s Altındağ district, not far from the city center.
The al-Qaeda group including Tunç had meetings in other parts of the Turkish capital including one at the Medarik Publishing House on Dec. 28, 2012, another in the Deha Bookstore on March 8, 2012 in the Hacı Bayram neighborhood and a mosque in Yenimahalle on Dec. 9, 2011. On March 18, 2012 Tunç and others had a meeting in the office of Merhamet-Der, another al-Queda-linked association located in the Keçiören district.
However, they all managed to get out of jail despite incriminating evidence against them in the investigation file thanks to the political cover provided to al-Qaeda groups in Turkey by the Islamist government of President Erdoğan, who tapped their abilities on the night of the failed coup in order to escalate violence and perpetrate killings.
Another al-Qaeda-affiliated group that was out in the streets on the night of July 15 was one affiliated with the Cordoba Youth Movement (Kurtuba Gençlik Hareketi), a group that has links to the government. The leadership of the group was active in front of Erdoğan’s lavish palace in Ankara, distributing jihadist literature to a crowd gathered around Erdoğan’s monstrous presidential complex. When Kurtuba’s name came up in the aftermath of the assassination of Russian Ambassador Andrei Karlov on Dec. 19, 2016, investigators were quick to downplay it.
Murat Oduncu, a Salafist and known operative of Kurtuba, admitted he had met with Mevlüt Mert Altıntaş, the 22-year-old Turkish police officer who killed Karlov in cold blood and chanted jihadist slogans before he was shot dead by police who responded to the scene. Although Oduncu confessed the killer had shown an interest in Kurtuba’s work and said he had urged him during a meeting to sign up with the special operations unit of the police force, Turkish authorities kept Oduncu out of the scope of the investigation into the murder of the Russian envoy.
Kurtuba is also connected to the Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH), which is strongly backed by the Erdogan government. The IHH, accused of shipping arms to jihadist groups in Syria according to documents provided to the UN Security Council by Russia, has coordinated some activities in Syria in cooperation with Kurtuba. Ayhan Altıntaş, a volunteer who used to work with the IHH, is the key man who facilitated and directed Kurtuba actions in Syria in December 2015. Altıntaş, who also joined the Gaza-bound Mavi Marmara aid flotilla, is a notorious radical figure whose name was revealed as an arms dealer in an indictment filed in Turkey’s Niğde province. According to wiretap records dated July 1, 2014, Altıntaş was mentioned as the arms procurement person for jihadist groups.
In an interview the head of the IHH, Bülent Yıldırım, revealed how he and his men rushed to the main police building in Istanbul’s Vatan district and coordinated the actions of civilians in clashing with the putschists. He bragged about how he managed to stop seven tanks with nothing but passenger vehicles in what appears to be a completely fabricated story. In the video he was heard saying that some people stashed undershirts in the exhaust pipes of German Leopard tanks to make them inoperable. This ridiculous claim was even mentioned in July 2017 in a speech by President Erdoğan, although military experts say it is simply impossible to render inoperable a Leopard 2A4 main battle tank, produced by Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, by stuffing a T-shirt into its exhaust pipe
Another far-fetched claim Yıldırım made in the interview was that some people went into a high-rise building and prepared to “jump over” F-16 fighter jets. All these absurd claims confirm the failed coup attempt was nothing but a hoax and that there was no real military mobilization which would qualify as a coup attempt in Istanbul. But the IHH people played their part, which was carefully choreographed to make it appear that the nation was rising up against the putschists. In the meantime, both civilians and soldiers were killed, many by Turkish al-Qaeda militants who were mobilized by the government.
It appears that Erdoğan has managed to form a large militant force of al-Qaeda thugs who remain on standby and who are willing to do his dirty bidding when needed. This explains why the criminal justice system has for some time failed to successfully prosecute suspects in Turkey since judges and prosecutors receive their orders from the office of the Turkish president. It also makes sense why there has been no real al-Qaeda crackdown on militant cells in Turkey since January 2014, when all police chiefs and prosecutors who launched the last serious operation against the al-Qaeda network were abruptly removed and later jailed in Erdoğan’s Turkey.