By Omer Sut
The group blamed for last year’s defeated coup in Turkey campaigned for an independent Kurdish region in 2015, as revealed by secret smartphone messages, said a source familiar with the evidence on Saturday.
A former Turkish prosecutor identified as S.S., a suspected member of the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), got orders from an unidentified user of the ByLock messaging app to sign an online petition on the White House website demanding an “independent Kurdistan,” according to evidence uncovered by Turkey’s Information Technologies and Communications Authority (BTK).
The source, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on talking to the media, said that the unidentified user sent messages to S.S. in December 2015 asking him to use a VPN — a virtual network providing hidden communication — to create multiple mail accounts and sign the petition under various fake names.
In the decrypted messages, the unidentified person also urged that more FETO members get involved in the campaign, the source added.
The online petition started in July 2015 and lasted through the end of the year.
The messages also revealed that the then-prosecutor would give FETO members advance notice of police operations and urge them to protect themselves.
According to Turkey’s government, FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, which left 250 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.
Ankara also accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary.