EU Intelligence: Erdogan Planned Purges Before July Coup

Turkey (GPA) – A leaked report by European Union intelligence allegedly shows that Erdogan planned purges of military officials before July and that it was this plan, not exiled cleric Fetullah Gülen that sparked the coup.

The secret report was assembled by Intcen, the EU’s intelligence agency, in August and released to The Times in the U.K. According to The Times, the report concluded that the coup was a preemptive response to the discovery by some senior officials of oncoming purges by Erdogan and his AK Party. The report also claimed that, contrary to what Erdogan has said, exiled cleric Fetullah Gülen did not play a role in planning or orchestrating the coup. Gülen was also blamed by Erdogan for the assassination of the Russian ambassador to Turkey last month.

The report said that the coup was likely planned by “group of officers comprising Gülenists, Kemalists [secularists], opponents of the AKP [Erdoğan’s party] and opportunists,” and that although officers loyal to Gülen were involved, “It is unlikely that Gülen himself played a role in the attempt.”

According to the report, decades were spent placing Gülenists in senior positions that would’ve allowed Gülen to “influence the situation in the country and control the activities of President Erdogan.” This situation likely changed however following previous purges of the security forces by the AKP in 2014. This is what makes it more likely that the July coup was staged by a coalition of anti-Erdogan cliques within the government making the attempt “a catalyst for the crackdown prepared in advance.”

By Burak Su – gezi0185, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

The report concluded it was unlikely Gülen had any control over the coup since the civilian aspect of the “Gülen movement is very disconnected and somewhat distant from the secular opposition and Turkish army.” It is more likely than the anti-Erdogan groups within Turkey’s military found out about the MIT’s (Turkish intelligence) growing list of “troublesome individuals” that was being compiled for several years. The list also contained names of “civil activists” who would be future targets of the AKP.

While some claim Erdogan may have staged the coup as an excuse to Purge individuals opposed to him, these revelations by InCet make much more sense. It’s also likely that if the EU, in their turn away from Erdogan, had proof that the coup was staged, they would release that instead. The coup in Turkey now seems much more likely to have been a last ditch effort by a spectrum of opposition to stop the inevitable purge.

This report prepared by Jim Carey for Geopolitics Alert.