Commanders betrayed by close aides, guards
ANKARATurkey’s top commanders were reportedly betrayed and held hostage by the attempted coup plotters, a number of whom were their top aides, during a failed coup attempt in the country on July 15.
“There is a notice of a terror attack, we should go,” a group of coup plotting soldiers told Fleet Commander Veysel Kösele on the night of the coup attempt during a dinner event.
Kösele was taken to the F240 TCG Yavuz frigate by the soldiers and the frigate left the port with 10 others. He learned that he had been betrayed when the frigate left the port, and he was unable to be reached afterwards.
The coup attempters reportedly controlled four ships at the Gölcük Naval Base and three ships at the Aksaz Naval Base.
An operation was launched to save Kösele when it was determined he was being held hostage, while a brawl erupted between he and the putschist soldiers, according to reports.
The frigate was tracked and the coup plotting soldiers reportedly apologized to the fleet commander after they understood they would be caught.
Kösele took control of the frigate and directed it to the navy headquarters in Gölcük, as the coup plotters who ordered the abduction of Kösele escaped from the base on boats.
Another top commander who was held hostage by the putschist soldiers, Air Force Commander Gen. Abidin Ünal, was at a wedding when he was abducted at gunpoint by his aides and guards.
Ünal was attending the wedding of the daughter of Gen. Mehmet Şanver, the commander of the Eskişehir Combatant Air Unit, on the Anatolian side of Istanbul. Ünal and other top cadres of the Air Force were present at the wedding.
During the wedding, five helicopters landed in the garden while opening fire, according to daily Hürriyet. Soldiers jumped off the helicopters and took Ünal, Şahver and other commanders present hostage.
“We have received orders, we need to carry out our duties,” the soldiers told Ünal, as several of them fired shots in the air to force the wedding guests outside.
A source who attended the wedding said the soldiers announced there was a drill when they first arrived.
“All the aides and guards who were closest to the commander were on the coup plotters’ side. When I lifted my head, I noticed those who were positioned under me were with the coup plotters as well,” said the source.
Chief of the Army Gen. Salih Zeki Çolak and Land Forces Executive Officer Gen. İhsan Uyar, who were also held captive, were invited to the military’s headquarters at around 9 p.m. on July 15 by one of Turkish Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar’s top aides, Levent Türkkan.
A brawl erupted between Çolak, Uyar and the coup attempting soldiers after the former attempted to restrain the latter. The commanders were taken to the Akıncı Base in Ankara, where they were held captive.
Çolak and Uyar were saved at around 3:30 p.m. on July 16.