Adil Öksüz, a leading suspect in Turkey’s failed coup attempt of July 15, 2016, made several phone calls to his connections in the United States, journalist Ahmet Dönmez told Ahval’s Ali Abaday in a podcast on Tuesday.
Öksüz is one of the most prominent pupils of Fethullah Gülen, a Pennsylvania-based Muslim preacher, who Ankara accuses of having orchestrated July 15 along with his followers.
“There is no such thing that Gülen wouldn’t know Öksüz,” said Dönmez, who worked for Gülen-tied newspaper Zaman for over a decade. Before leaving Turkey, Dönmez was Zaman’s Prime Ministry reporter in the Turkish capital. He is the author of the latest series of revelations on Gülen’s followers and the failed coup attempt.
According to the journalist, who has been speaking to current and former members of the movement for his current series of investigative reporting on the failed coup, Öksüz made many calls to Cevdet Türkyolu, known to be one of the closest aides of Gülen himself, who has lived with the preacher for more than four decades.
Earlier reports on Öksüz showed that he had been Gülen’s link to the Turkish army, where he was responsible for growing Gülen’s following. Öksüz was first taken into custody near the Akıncı Air Base in Ankara, the headquarters of the failed coup. However, two days after his arrest, he became the only civilian who was able to convince a judge to set him free. He then disappeared from the face of the earth, and hasn’t been seen in public since.
After July 15, Gülen told France 24 in an interview that he didn’t know Öksüz very well, adding that many people visited his compound in Pennsylvania.
Dönmez revealed that Öksüz had close relations with Gülen. Öksüz stayed with Gülen as a student in the 1990s, and was a prominent leader in the group for decades, remaining in Turkey while Gülen moved to the United States by the end of the decade.
Although it isn’t certain, Dönmez doesn’t believe Öksüz was working for the Turkish intelligence service MİT.
“I am of the opinion that he is not a MİT agent,” Dönmez said. “However, there are also reasons to believe that he is.”
“I learned that after July 15, Öksüz called Cevdet Türkyolu in the United States more than once,” Dönmez continued. Türkyolu was also the person who scheduled Gülen’s meetings and even helped with his medication.
Out of the five followers of Gülen taken into custody near the Akıncı Base on the morning after the failed coup, Öksüz was the only individual who was able to get away.