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US delegation due in Turkey to discuss FETO probe

US delegation to meet officials of Turkish Foreign, Interior and Justice ministries on Jan. 3-4

Nilay Kar, Sena Güler   | 01.01.2019
US delegation due in Turkey to discuss FETO probe

By Islam Dogru and Zuhal Demirci


A U.S. delegation will be visiting Ankara next week to hold talks with Turkish authorities on new evidence that they submitted to Washington about the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group behind 2016 defeated coup in Turkey.

The talks scheduled for Jan. 3-4 are seen as important in terms of revealing the role of FETO’s U.S-based leader Fetullah Gulen and his inner circles.

Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office had earlier confirmed that Adil Oksuz, Kemal Batmaz, Hakan Cicek, Harun Binis, and Nurettin Oruc -- so-called civilian imams of the terror group -- were in the U.S. in January, March, and June of 2016.

The figures above are known to have held preliminary talks with Gulen regarding the coup attempt.

The cell phone of Hakan Cicek -- who was nabbed while escaping from Akinci Base just after the coup attempt -- had been found during a land search.

A 12-people special team set up by the Counter-Terrorism Department of Ankara Police Office, located the areas where the phone was used after examining the digital traces of it.

The phone carrying a U.S. cellular number belonging to Cicek was first activated at Fetullah Gulen’s farmhouse in Pennsylvania on Marc 7, 2016.

The coordinates were learned from the location data recorded since the phone was activated.

Turkish authorities proved the role of FETO in the coup attempt by sharing those digital data during a meeting with U.S. officials on July 13, 2018.

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

US’s new FETO assessment

The U.S.’s assessment on the new evidence will be learned during the talks to be attended by officials of Foreign, Interior and Justice Ministries in Ankara on Jan. 3-4.

The U.S. officials will talk about the preliminary inquiry that they launched earlier into organized crimes, such as visa irregularities and money laundering by FETO-linked foundations and individuals, in 18 states.

Extradition of Kemal (Kevin) Oksuz to the U.S. -- who was held accountable for violating the laws related to the financing of a 2013 trip of Congress members to Azerbaijan and arrested in Armenia in August -- was among the attention-grabbing developments of the recent days.

Turkish authorities believe Oksuz issue could be a milestone in terms of revealing illegal activities of FETO carried out via various foundations such as schools and associations and in terms of drawing the attention of U.S. public opinion.

Earlier, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu had said they took FBI’s probe into the terror group “seriously,” but with suspicions. However, he added the probe seemed to have started bearing fruit.

Evidence from Cicek’s cell phone

It was revealed that Hakan Cicek, one of the so-called imams of July 15 coup attempt, wrote his username and his password on a paper in order to not to forget and took a photo through LivePhoto after activating his phone.

Anadolu Agency has obtained the photo that he took and kept in his cell phone.

The image shows that Cicek, by using his own handwriting, noted his icloud account and his password.

This image is one of the evidence that the device found during a land search at Akinci Base is belonging to Cicek.

Anadolu Agency traces coordinates

The Anadolu Agency team in the U.S. entered the coordinates -- saved in Cicek’s phone -- into navigation in the city center of New York.

The coordinates of “40.870487, -75.32150" and "40.870500, -75.321300” took the team from New York to the farmhouse in Pennsylvania, where Gulen is currently living in.

Anadolu Agency team also entered the coordinates "40.583818, -73.948949," which were saved on Cicek’s phone on June 25, 2016, into the navigation.

These coordinates took them to Masal Café Lounge in Brooklyn, New York, one of the meeting points of FETO members in the country.

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