When the coup rumors started to go around pre-July 15, as journalists, we turned our receivers toward the direction of the rumors. This led us to communicate more frequently with people from various circles. Our initial thought regarding the rumors was, “they cannot go that far.” As things started to become increasingly serious, our view changed too. On June 27, 2016, I tried to share what I hear under the title, “Şarkird subayların altın vuruşu” (Movement commissioned officers' golden shot). It hadn't been 20 days after my column that Gülenist commissioned officers who overdid the hash rained bombs over us. They martyred 241 of our people and wounded more than 2,000.
One of the most wondered topics those days was the state of Gülenist commissioned officers due to the approaching Supreme Military Council (YAŞ). The main agenda in gatherings in settings where soldiers who were setup were also present was the nearing YAŞ decisions. On Wednesday, July 13, before the coup, in a setting where again the YAŞ issue was being discussed, İzmir Deputy Chief Public Prosecutor Okan Bato's investigation concerning the Gülenist structure within the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) came up on the agenda. The idea that numerous Fetullah Gülen Terror Organization (FETÖ)-affiliated generals and commissioned officers would be reached as a result of the investigation, that in the case these names were determined ahead of the YAŞ, they could be made to retire stood out. Meanwhile, the soldiers who were setup – if it is true – said that the Gülenist commissioned officers would be staging a coup. When asked, “Are they strong enough to stage a coup?” they replied, “Even if they can't succeed, they are going to do a kamikaze. They cannot risk being retired.”
Our correspondent Osman Özgan wrote a very important news article from the investigation in İzmir related to the Gülenist structure within the TSK. The article was published as the headline with the title, “18 paşaya Fetö suçlaması” (FETÖ accusation for 18 pashas), on Thursday, July 14. The footsteps of the coup could now be heard. An anxious voice on the telephone a night before, on Thursday, asked, “Can you come to where we spoke yesterday?” Reminding of Yeni Şafak daily's fight against FETÖ, it was said, “A coup is on its way. It is impossible to stop it. Something must be done urgently to inform and activate the public.” I said it would not be possible to report such news in terms of journalism and that it would only be possible if an expert on the matter stated these in an interview.
They asked, “Would you do an interview with Hasan Atilla Uğur?” I stopped for a moment and started to think out loud: “How would it be to interview someone who has done time in prison for years during the Ergenekon process and is politically connected to the Patriotic Party (VP)?” I continued to think out loud and said, “If someone who has no connection to the [Justice and Development Party] AK Party and served time in prison for years during the AK Party period stated these, it would have a greater social return,” and accepted to do the interview. We agreed to 3:00 p.m. on Friday, July 15. I met retired Col. Hasan Atilla Uğur, whose name I hear many times before and watched several times on television, for the first time only hours before the coup. We had a long chat. He said that the Gülenist commissioned officers were capable of all sorts of evil including a coup. He stressed that these attacks could only be resisted under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's leadership.
I went home after the long chat and as I was drinking tea on the balcony after dinner, the first jet was seen in Ankara's skies. I said, “Gülen's b..tards are doing a kamikaze,” and the information Uğur shared during the day were coming true.
I told everyone, primarily the newspaper's editor, that “The Gülenists are staging a coup.” Yeni Şafak had already been informing through the headlines until the night of July 15 that the coup is approaching step by step anyway. Again, that night, Yeni Şafak was the first to announce that the attempt was made by Gülenists. When the Gülenist coup attempt news was published by Yeni Şafak, nobody including Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım had yet made a statement. We were unable to inform the public, since we had not been able to publish Uğur's interview, but what we had discussed that day contributed greatly to make correct news on the coup night.
Two-and-a-half months after the coup attempt, Uğur, who said on July 15 that Gülenists would be doing all sorts of evil, stated there have been serious developments regarding a second attempt. This time we did another interview so as not to be late. Uğur, who spent his life in intelligence, took part in counterterror operations, questioned PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, shared very important information in the interview on the second attempt.
Leaving the entire interview aside, an attack campaign was started due to expressions that were used in relation to certain tribes. I object to nothing that was said as I believe in freedom of expression. However, I do have some questions. Did Turkey see the Oct. 6-8 incidents? Did certain tribe representatives go to Qandil ahead of the June 7 and Nov. 1 elections? How did these visits reflect on ballot box results? The last question as stated in the interview, did British diplomats make visits to the region? If anybody asks about the money matter, “As far as I know, in such businesses, money is not transferred via EFT.”
Today, those who carried Turkey step by step to July 15 by failing to show adequate sensitivity in the fight against FETÖ, do not believe a second attempt is possible. Because, FETÖ, which has been preparing 40 years for these days, failed to achieve its objective on July 15 and abolished itself. All FETÖ elements were captured after the attempt and there are no gang leaders who have escaped abroad. None of us have any question marks left regarding the July 15 coup attempt. Everything is as bright as day. Nobody needs to be concerned. There is no coup, you can all make yourselves comfortable.