US delegation attends interrogation of FETÖ suspect

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A visiting U.S. delegation on Dec. 3 attended the interrogation of Kemal Batmaz, one of the key suspects of a failed coup attempt in 2016 who was charged as the “civilian imam” of FETÖ, and two secret witnesses in position of observer, daily Hürriyet reported on Jan. 4.

One prosecutor and FBI officials were in the delegation as part of judiciary assistance agreement between the two countries.

The U.S. delegation is paying a two-day visit to Ankara and visited the Ankara courthouse in the first day of their discussions. The delegation, composed of judiciary and security officials, is the second U.S. delegation in Ankara having talks with the Turkish authorities.

Batmaz is accused of being the “second-in-command” of what the government calls FETÖ, which is widely is widely believed to have been behind the coup attempt of July 15, 2016.

Adil Öksüz and Batmaz, the key suspects of the coup attempt, visited the U.S. a few days before the coup. Turkey has sent several files to the U.S. to beef up its evidences in demanding the extradition of Fethullah Gülen, the U.S.-based leader of FETÖ. The new files also included e-mail correspondences between Gülen’s aides in Pennsylvania and KemalBatmaz.

Both evidences reportedly reveal how Gülen personally instructed the members of his organization before and during the coup attempt.

Earlier, Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül had said that Ankara was “hoping” for Gülen to be extradited to Turkey. “In Turkey, the death penalty does not exist. We are saying [to U.S. officials] there is no obstacle for the extradition not to take place,” Gül said on Dec. 30.

“Our demand [for Gülen’s extradition] is not officially rejected. As we find new evidence, we send it to America. Administrative and criminal investigations are ongoing,” Gül had also said.

Turkish authorities “proved” the role of FETÖ in the failed coup attempt by sharing digital data during a meeting with U.S. officials on July 13, 2018, state-run Anadolu Agency has said.

The U.S. also started to make its own assessment by receiving the data, the agency said.

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