A woman was arrested in Istanbul after she threatened to blow up an aircraft preparing to take off from Sabiha Gokcen international airport on December 18. The aircraft was scheduled to fly for Tymbou (Ercan) airport in Turkish occupied Cyprus when the woman, named Nikar D, held a copy of the Qur’an along with a photograph of Fethullah Gülen, a Turkish Islamic preacher, and threatened to blow up the plane.
In a video, the woman can be seen threatening passengers saying she is a live bomber and that she has planted five bombs. “I am a FETO (Fethullahist Terrorist Organization) member, and I will blow up the aircraft,” she shouted in Turkish. The woman lits a cigarette in the plane saying, “I’ll blow it up, there are bombs everywhere”.
The hijab-clad woman, wearing sunglasses, tried to set plane alight with a lighter and shouted, “I’m gonna do it, I’m gonna burn you all”. A passenger snatched the lighter from her while a crew member came with a water bottle to douse a possible fire. The woman was finally arrested and charged with ‘hijacking a plane’. If proved guilty, she will be imprisoned for up to 10 years.
FETO is inspired by the writings and preachings of Fethullah Gülen who is a de facto leader of the Gülen movement and has been living in self-imposed exile in the United States since 1999. Gülen claims that he runs a peaceful movement called Hizmet but has been accused of orchestrating a failed coup against Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan in 2016.
After the failed coup, Turkey sent a formal extradition request with certain documents as supporting evidence. But the US officials said that the documents were related to alleged pre-coup subversive activities. Since then, Turkey has been trying to get Gülen extradited and according to media reports, Rudy Giuliani, attorney to the US President, even tried to convince Donald Trump to extradite Gülen.