The public prosecutor’s office in Ankara has identified businessman Kemal Batmaz as the “second mastermind” of the July 15 defeated coup, according to a report released by the office Wednesday.
Batmaz, who is the former director general of Kaynak Paper Incorporated Company, had been detained soon after the coup bid and remains in custody.
According to the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, Batmaz had been spotted at the Istanbul Ataturk Airport as he accompanied another major coup perpetrator, Adil Oksuz, during their trip to the US to visit Fetullah Gulen in July – just days before the defeated coup.
Later, when they returned from the US, Batmaz was spotted along with Oksuz at Ankara’s Akinci 4th Main Jet Base during the foiled coup night.
Akinci had been used as a base by some pro-coup soldiers, and some of the jets that took off from the base ended up bombing several targets in the capital, including the parliament. Top military officers in the Turkish army were also held hostage at the base.
Also, the prosecutor’s office said six suspects accused of accompanying Oksuz on his visit to the US in March and June had been apprehended Wednesday. The suspects also allegedly rented out houses in Ankara in preparation for the coup. Police are looking for six more suspects linked to Oksuz and the coup bid.
Oksuz, who was an assistant professor in the faculty of theology at the Sakarya University in Turkey, remains at large, according to Turkish authorities.
He was held on the night of the defeated coup on July 15 at the Akinci Jet Base but was released after a brief interrogation by Judges Koksal Celik and Cetin Sonmez. However, later when it became known that Oksuz was one of the top 15 putsch attempt plotters, an arrest warrant for him was reissued.
Oksuz, however, disappeared soon after his release and has still not been found despite efforts to arrest him.
The Interior Ministry has offered a reward of up to 4 million Turkish liras ($1.3 million) for information leading to the arrest of Oksuz – one of the 37 fugitive members of the organization.
The Turkish government accuses Fetullah Gulen as the mastermind of the defeated coup, which left 246 people killed and 2,194 others injured.