A former Turkish deputy police chief in Ankara has said it was “impossible” for July 15 coup attempt to occur without the instruction of the U.S.-based preacher Fetullah Gulen.

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“It is impossible that the coup [was attempted] on July 15 without Fetullah Gulen’s knowledge and instruction,” Gursel Aktepe, who was arrested over his alleged connection to the coup attempt, said in his testimony on Thursday.

 

On the night of the failed coup, Aktepe said he received a message that read: “The coup has occurred. For assistance, everyone must go near to the places they used to previously work.”

 

The government has said the attempted coup was organized by followers of Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) led by Gulen.

 

Aktepe, who mostly worked in intelligence departments while on duty, said he attended a divinity school and took part in gatherings held by Gulen supporters while he was a university student.

 

He admitted being a sympathizer of Gulen and said he went to the U.S. while he was on duty. Aktepe said he stayed in Gulen’s Pennsylvania mansion for two days.

 

He also faced a search warrant as part of illegal wiretapping probe – in which Gulen’s followers are accused of eavesdropping top government officials in 2015.

 

Aktepe said the Gulenist movement gave him 4.500 TL (around $1400) every month after he was dismissed from his position as Ankara deputy police chief after a domestic security bill last year.

 

He used to receive money from a person with the code name ‘Zubeyir’, who works for Samanyolu College linked to the Gulenist movement.

 

At least 246 people, including members of the security forces and civilians, were martyred and nearly 1,500 others wounded as they protested against the coup.

 

Gulen is also accused of a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through supporters within the Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary, forming the parallel state.