U.S. document that only recently surfaced has confirmed that Kemal Batmaz, one of the masterminds of the July 15 coup attempt, stayed in Gulenist Terror Group (FETO) leader Fetullah GUlen’s residence in the U.S. six and a half months before they tried to overthrow the government.
Batmaz and Adil Oksuz, two civilians believed to have directed soldiers on behalf of FETO, were caught by CCTV cameras at the 143rd Fleet of the Akıncı Air Base, the command center of the putschist soldiers, on the night of July 15. Oksuz managed to flee after a controversial court ruling ordered his release, while Batmaz was jailed.
According to the official document time stamped Jan. 1, 2016, which was released by Turkish daily Hurriyet’s columnist Sedat Ergin and later published by Anadolu Agency, Batmaz told American officials questioning him at New Jersey’s Newark Airport in the U.S. that he “will stay with Imam Fetullah Gulen in Pennsylvania” during his visit to the country.
After his frequent visits to the country raised suspicion among the customs and border guard officers of the Department of Homeland Security at passport control, an official took Batmaz in for a detailed interview to question his intentions to come to the U.S.
The document in question is a summary of his interview recorded by the authorities at the airport.
The document, which was sent by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to the Turkish General Directorate of Security on September 8, 2017 and delivered as evidence to the 17th High Criminal, is one of the most important evidences that directly links the coup attempt with Gulen.
The recording also shows that Batmaz had a stopover in the U.K. before flying to the U.S. on Jan. 1, 2016, which is an important detail missing in the bill of indictment issued in the Akıncı Air Base case. The indictment only states that Batmaz left from Istanbul to go to the U.K. According to the indictment, Oksuz, another key figure in the coup attempt, had also gone to the U.K. the day before Batmaz went to the U.K., which raises suspicions that he too could’ve flown to the U.S. via the U.K.
The airport document is also important as it refutes the statement Batmaz gave after he was caught, in which he asserted that he did not know Fetullah Gulen.
Batmaz told the prosecutor’s office on October 18, 2016 that he did not know Gulen personally, but knows him from the media.
“I started to see the Fetullah Gulen movement as a (terror) organization by the end of 2014 and beginning of 2015 … Therefore Fetullah Gulen is the leader of a terrorist organization, and a terrorist,” he had stated.
Batmaz, a former executive of Kaynak Kagıt, a paper company that operated one of the largest business conglomerates affiliated with the terrorist group, told a court trying him and dozens of others last August he was near Akıncı to see a plot of land he planned to purchase in the company of Harun Binis, another employee of a FETO-linked company. His excuse for being near the base was the same as Oksüz who claimed he went to an area near the base for a plot of land he planned to purchase when he was captured. Batmaz had also flatly denied that he was in the security camera footage despite multiple expert witnesses and high-definition footage taken from security cameras showing it was clearly he walking freely in the aisles of the military base. At one point in the footage, Batmaz even nods when a putschist general gives him a military salute.