By Bruno Waterfield
BRUSSELS (Times of London) — President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey planned to purge opposition forces in the military before July’s attempted coup, according to a secret EU intelligence report. The European intelligence contradicts the Turkish government’s claim that Fethullah Gülen, an exiled cleric, was behind the plot to overthrow the Turkish government. Ankara is seeking Gülen’s extradition from the US.
The report by Intcen, the EU intelligence center, concluded that the coup was mounted by a range of opponents to Erdogan and his ruling AK Party.
“The decision to launch the coup resulted from the fears of an incoming purge. It is likely that a group of officers comprising Gülenists, Kemalists [secularists], opponents of the AKP and opportunists was behind the coup. It is unlikely that Gülen himself played a role in the attempt,” said the report, dated August, 24, 2016, seen by The Times.
“The coup was just a catalyst for the crackdown prepared in advance.”
Gülen’s followers have spent decades placing their supporters in senior positions in the police, judiciary and other institutions building a network that, according to EU intelligence sources, enabled him to “influence the situation in the country and control the activities of President Erdogan”.