Although the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government claims a failed coup attempt in July was perpetrated by generals linked to the faith-based Gülen movement, the leaked emails of Berat Albayrak, the energy minister and son-in-law of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, show there are no generals in the ranks of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) linked to the Gülen movement.
Three weeks ago Turkish Marxist–Leninist-Maoist computer hacker RedHack announced that it had hacked the email account of Albayrak and warned that it would disclose 20GB of content if its demand for release of two Kurdish and leftist writers from prison was not met.
After its demand went unheeded, the group began to disclose classified information that revealed a web of murky business and political relationships.
The email in question is among the thousands of emails leaked from the private mail account of Albayrak. It is dated March 3, 2016 and was sent to Berat Albayrak from Serhat Albayrak, his brother and CEO of the Turkuvaz Media Group, which publishes the Sabah and Daily Sabah newspapers and runs the A Haber and ATV television stations.
The email, which was first sent to Serhat Albayrak apparently by the TSK and then forwarded to Berat Albayrak, says: “The TSK is of the view that there are no generals or lieutenant generals linked to the parallel structure in its ranks, according to its internal investigation. It is thought that there could be one or two figures having the rank of a major general, but they are not on active duty and are being kept under surveillance.”
The parallel structure or the parallel state is a phrase used by the government and its supporters to refer to the Gülen movement.
The leaked email totally contradicts the government’s narrative holding the Gülen movement responsible for the failed coup attempt on July 15, which claimed the lives of more than 240 people and injured a thousand others.
Immediately after the putsch, the government along with President Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement, inspired by US-based Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen.
Despite Gülen and the movement having denied the accusation and calling for an international investigation, Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government launched a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.
In the leaked email, it is also said that the TSK has concentrated its attention on brigadier generals and colonels as well as the gendarmerie to see whether there are any Gülen-linked officers in their ranks.
The email says during the process of promoting military officers, a decision is made about an officer’s eligibility according to intelligence reports from the police and the National Intelligence Organization (MİT), the views of their senior commanders, the existence of any complaints about them and the opinions of their peers.