Opposition leader says Turkey coup ‘controlled’, Gulenists within AKP protected

Kemal Kilicdaroglu (second from left) came together with Erdogan (centre), Turkish PM Binali Yildirim (right) and MHP leader Devlet Bahceli (left) to support the government following the coup attempt in July 2016.

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s (CHP) Party leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu has called last July’s failed coup attempt in Turkey “a controlled coup.”

“We have a file that proves the 15 July coup was controlled” Kilicdaroglu told heads of television stations on Monday.

The opposition leader also reiterated claims that there were between 120 and 180 lawmakers within the ruling Justice and Development (AKP) Party who had close ties to Fethullah Gulen, the US-based cleric the government accuses of masterminding the coup.

Referring to the ByLock application allegedly used by the putschists for communication purposes, Kilicdaroglu said, “It is well known that there are between 120-180 ByLock users within the ruling party. However those being investigated are handpicked. Why are you [AKP] protecting ByLock using deputies?”

Thousands of soldiers and police officers have been arrested and imprisoned for using the application.

Turkey has imprisoned more than 40,000 people across the military, police force, judiciary, media and academia for alleged involvement in the coup attempt. More than 100,000 have also been purged from public service.

Critics have said prominent AKP officials who have close ties with the Gulen Movement, a former Erdogan and AKP ally, have been protected to prevent division in the party.

These figures could be targeted if the constitutional reforms giving President Erdogan extended powers are brought into effect in the upcoming constitutional referendum, commentators have speculated.

Fethullah Gulen has denied involvement in the coup but accepted that some of his supporters may have participated in the events that resulted in the death of more than 240 people.

According to an EU intelligence agency report, several factions within the military, including secularist Kemalists and Gulenists jointly carried out the coup.