US delegation, Turkish officials discuss FETO probe

Turkish officials and a U.S. delegation on Thursday met in the capital Ankara to discuss efforts to counter the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group behind the 2016 defeated coup in Turkey, according to Turkish sources.

The 11-hour meeting at Ankara Courthouse was attended by Ankara Deputy Chief Public Prosecutor Ramazan Dinc, Public Prosecutor Ali Alper Saylan, Turkish Justice Ministry officials, and the U.S. delegation, including FBI officials, said the sources, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

Kemal Batmaz — a so-called civilian imam of the FETO terror group who has been remanded in custody — was brought to the hearing room for questioning, but he reportedly refused to provide any information.

Beside Batmaz, two other people were also questioned.

The talks scheduled for Thursday and Friday are seen as important for exposing the role of FETO’s U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen and his inner circles.

Ankara prosecutors had earlier confirmed that “civilian imams” Batmaz, Adil Oksuz, Hakan Cicek, Harun Binis, and Nurettin Oruc were in the U.S. in January, March, and June of 2016, in the leadup to the July coup attempt.

Those figures above are known to have held preliminary talks with Gulen regarding the defeated coup.

FETO and its U.S.-based leader Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, which left 250 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.

Ankara has also said FETO is behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary.

Ankara has long sought the extradition of Gulen and expressed frustration with delays on the U.S. side.

Turkish leaders in recent weeks have said the U.S. is showing more interest in possibly extraditing Gulen and moving against FETO members in the U.S.

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