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[UPDATE] Prime coup suspect took 3 domestic flights after July 15: report

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Adil Öksüz, the prime suspect in a failed coup in Turkey last July, took at least three domestic flights following his release in the immediate wake of the coup attempt, according to a Sözcü daily report on Saturday.

Öksüz, who is still wanted, flew from Ankara to İstanbul three days after the coup attempt, from Elazığ to Ankara and then to İzmir 13 days after the coup attempt, which led to a massive purge in the country.

According to Sözcü, the source of the information on the key coup suspect’s domestic flights is the deputy chairman of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), Bülent Tezcan. The main opposition also claimed that a man named Gurbet Demir accompanied Öksüz during his last two flights.

Given the fact that Öksüz is wanted, the CHP’s Tezcan claims that Öksüz is protected by an invisible hand while even purge victims are not allowed to take flights.

On July 18, 2016 Öksüz flew from Ankara to İstanbul on flight TK2983 with ticket number 235 218 8533223. Thirteen days later, it turns out that Öksüz flew from Elazığ to Ankara and then İzmir with a passenger named Gurbet Demir next to him on both of those flights. Sözcü provided Öksüz’s ticket number — 235 218 946 0374 — on the flight from Elazığ to Ankara.

But Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ said that the person about whom Tezcan revealed flight information was a different Adil Öksüz.

Showing court documents as evidence for flights taken by Adil Öksüz during a press conferences in Çanakkale on Satuday evening, Tezcan said they would struggle to the end to clarify the Öksüz issue.

Earlier in August, Turkey had sent a diplomatic note to Germany asking for confirmation of whether media reports claiming that the prime suspect in Turkey’s coup last year is in Germany are accurate and to return him to Turkey in the event he is found there.

The pro-government Yeni Şafak daily had claimed that Öksüz has received temporary residence in Germany.

The diplomatic note sent to Germany said Öksüz was seen in various German cities as reported in the Turkish media and asked Germany whether they had any information about it.

While German Foreign Ministry sources had previously said they had no information concerning the whereabouts of Öksüz, Turkey asked Germany to apprehend and return Öksüz, who is a key coup suspect, in case he is found in Germany.

According to Turkey’s pro-government daily reports, Öksüz, who was detained on the night of the coup and later released by a court, was taken to Germany by two people. He was seen in Frankfurt and Ulm and requested temporary residence in the state of Baden-Württemberg. The daily claims that German police approved Öksüz’s application but did not officially register his name.

The report came three days after main opposition CHP Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said Öksüz was working for MİT, asking the government to clarify questions concerning the coup attempt.

The Turkish government claims that before the July 2016 coup attempt, Öksüz traveled to the US, where he visited Fethullah Gülen, who has inspired the Gülen movement. Photographs of Öksüz and his child with Gülen at the Golden Generation Retreat and Recreation Center Pennsylvania where the Turkish cleric has been living since 1999 have appeared in the Turkish press as proof of Gülen’s personal involvement in the coup bid.

“When you consider Adil Öksüz, they found him somewhere, I don’t remember where it was, and then they released him, and then there turned out be a tie between him and Turkish intelligence,” Gülen said in an interview with France24 last month.

Turkish government accuses faith-based Gülen movement of mounting the botched coup attempt while Gülen denies any involvement.

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