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FETO wanted to buy British daily: Court records

Probe into terror group shows members were interested in buying The Independent

Can Erözden   | 13.12.2018
FETO wanted to buy British daily: Court records

By Zafer Fatih Beyaz

ANKARA

The group behind the 2016 defeated coup in Turkey, Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), wanted to buy leading British daily The Independent, according to court records.

Encrypted messages of the ByLock mobile application, used by FETO members, accessed as part of a probe into the terror group reveal this motive.

The group's so-called West Europe imam Suleyman Tiftik exchanged a series of text messages with another member who was using the ID number 214359 in February 2016.

The unidentified FETO member told Tiftik that The Independent's sales had gone down but they wanted to carry on digitally -- so the owners were open to offers.

"It is understood they are unable to find a client so they wanted to carry on digitally. They are open for sale if there would be a good offer in this period," said one of the messages.

"Hi brother, can we make an appointment with the owners of Independent to inquire for price? Cordially," said another message.

This unidentified member also organized an interview for FETO fugitive Hamdi Akin Ipek in The Times newspaper in the U.K.

"Adem Yavuz Arslan from Washington talked to Akin Ipek about the interview and Akin leaned towards it. Adem Yavuz Arslan texted me upon this and asked 'Can we arrange an interview?' and I arranged an interview with The Times, the best selling newspaper in the U.K. But Akin changed his mind with worries like 'If I talk to a British newspaper, they will increase pressures against my family and hizmet movement in Turkey'," a message said.

The Hizmet or Cemaat movement is another name for Gulen’s movement.

Arslan is a journalist considered a key FETO fugitive living abroad.

A separate chat of Tiftik and Ismail Cingoz, head of FETO-affiliated charity Kimse Yokmu Association, on Jan 9. 2017 revealed a residence permit in Belgium for another FETO fugitive Seref Ali Tekalan, president of the North American University in Texas.

Tiftik and Cingoz are residing in Belgium.

In April, Turkey has sought extradition of 54 fugitives -- including senior FETO members, according to judicial officials.

A court in Ankara is hearing a case of 74 defendants, including U.S.-based FETO leader Fetullah Gulen. Some 54 people are being tried in absentia.

The fugitives are living in 24 countries including the U.S., Germany, Israel, the U.K., Egypt, United Arab Emirates, South Arica, Malta and Albania, said the judicial officials, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

Belgian judicial authorities have not responded the Turkey's extradition request for Tiftik.

FETO and Gulen is accused of orchestrating the defeated coup of July 15, 2016 which left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.

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