If Berlin can't see Fetullah Gulen's role in coup attempt, they point finger at themselves, says Turkish defense minister
“Such a [skeptical] statement by a chief of intelligence of a country, Germany, is raising suspicions about Germany and leading to this question: Was German intelligence behind the coup attempt?” Fikri Isik said on Kanal 7 TV.
In an interview with newsweekly Der Spiegel published Saturday, Federal Intelligence Service (BND) head Bruno Kahl said of Gulen’s role in the coup, "Turkey has tried on different levels to convince us of that, but they have not succeeded."
Led by U.S.-based Fetullah Gulen, FETO is accused of orchestrating the July 15 coup plot -- which martyred 249 people and left some 2,200 injured -- as well as being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and the judiciary.
Turkey has submitted evidence of the FETO coup plot to governments worldwide, including Germany and the U.S., and urged them to eliminate FETO institutions in their own countries and extradite FETO suspects.
They 'don't want to be convinced'
Isik rebuffed Kahl’s remarks, saying, “It’s not right to say, ’We are not convinced,’ it should be, ‘We don’t want to be convinced’.”
Isik went on to accuse “certain circles” in Europe of being unhappy that the bloody July 15 coup attempt had not succeeded.
“If the German intelligence chief says, ‘We are not convinced that FETO is behind the coup attempt,’ then he must be either blind, deaf, or he needs to hide the plotters as they failed in what they wished to happen.”
Isik added: “This then raises a question: Did you cooperate with them? What was your position in this coup plot exactly?”
In a similar vein, presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin told CNN Turk Sunday that Kahl’s remarks are “quite noteworthy to show who is supporting FETO.”
Kalin added that the statements are “an attempt to whitewash FETO.”
The controversy follows Turkish officials accusing Germany of supporting terrorism by allowing the terrorist PKK to hold marches while blocking Turkish government ministers from holding public rallies there ahead of Turkey’s April 16 constitutional referendum.