By Serdar Acil and Aylin Sirikli
Fetullah Gulen, the U.S.-based leader of the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), has ordered his followers to support several global anti-Turkish campaigns to put pressure on Turkey and its leadership, Turkish judicial sources said Saturday.
According to sources in the public prosecutor’s office in the capital Ankara, which has been investigating how FETO plotted last year’s defeated coup, FETO members were ordered through the encrypted message app ByLock to support three global campaigns against Turkey and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The ByLock smartphone app was allegedly used by FETO members for internal communication during FETO’s defeated coup attempt of July 15, 2016, which martyred 250 people and injured over 2,000 others.
The app is believed to have been cracked by Turkish security agencies, allowing them to identify tens of thousands of suspected FETO supporters.
Nurullah Arslan, a former judge believed to have been an “imam” (a term the group uses to describe a senior member responsible for a specific branch of the terror network) of FETO’s members inside the judiciary, is alleged to have used the app to send encrypted messages to his fellow FETO members.
According to the sources, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media, Arslan’s messages ordered other FETO members to sign petitions on the official White House website and another on change.org promoting Kurdish independence as well as listing Turkey as a terror sponsor country and demanding that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan be brought before the International Criminal Court.
The campaign promoting an independent Kurdish state in northern Iraq was launched in 2014, and the petition demanding the U.S. to “List Erdogan’s Turkey As State Sponsor Of Terrorism; Void U.S. Alliance With Turkey” was launched in 2015.
A petition was posted last year on change.org urging that Erdogan be brought before the International Criminal Court for his “hate crimes.”
Arslan allegedly told the FETO members that supporting the petitions was “important” and followed by Gulen himself.
The messages also suggested that FETO members use foreign names rather than Turkish ones, log on using Virtual Private Network (VPN) proxy servers, and not use their regular IP addresses, said the sources.