World Bulletin / News Desk
Although many in the West had heard little of the Fetullah Terror Organization (FETO) before last year’s attempted coup in Turkey, the group has origins stretching back more than four decades.
Before it launched the July 15 putsch attempt that killed 250 people, FETO was known as the Gulen movement, after its founder Fetullah Gulen.
To many, it was seen as a faith-based group that outwardly promoted tolerance and interfaith dialogue.
However, even before the attempted coup, the group, which was also known as the Hizmet or Cemaat movement, it had gained notoriety across Turkey.
Judges, prosecutors and police officers tied to the terror group were involved in the “Sledgehammer” and “Ergenekon” trials between 2010 and 2013 that resulted in hundreds of military officers being wrongly imprisoned.
In December 2013, FETO-linked judicial and police officials attempted a “judicial coup” by accusing ministers and their relatives of corruption.
Its leader was born in 1941 in Turkey’s eastern province of Erzurum. In 1966, he was appointed as an imam in the Aegean city of Izmir, retiring in 1981.
Since 1999, he has lived on a sprawling estate in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania.
Mustafa Ozturk, a theology professor at Istanbul’s Marmara University, said that despite its claim to be a faith group, FETO differed hugely from traditional groups of worshippers.
“The Gulen network has no resemblance to the congregations that we know as sects in terms of their characteristic features and reactions,” he said.Güncelleme Tarihi: 12 Aralık 2017, 15:24