Turkish military rejects coup claims
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News | 1/22/2010 12:00:00 AM |
The military says no unit of the Turkish Armed Forces has ever been involved in any illegal activity and never will be. The legal advisor to the General Staff says if individual mistakes were made, competent legal authorities would do what is necessary to address the matter
The military rejected all coup allegations Friday, saying that the Turkish Armed Forces, or TSK, has never been engaged in any illegal activity.
“No unit of the TSK has ever been involved in any illegal activity and never will be,” said Brig. Gen. Hıfzı Çubuklu, the legal advisor of the General Staff.
Çubuklu said if individual mistakes were made, competent legal authorities would do what was necessary to address the matter. He emphasized that the TSK would, as before, continue its activities in the future in line with the relevant laws.
The latest developments have sparked the first formal press briefing from the military in five weeks. Earlier this month, the General Staff announced that it would discontinue the regular press meetings it had been holding since 2008. In December, the General Staff led tours for press members, but had not given formal briefings.
A 26-day search at the General Staff’s Special Forces Command headquarters, conducted by Judge Kadir Kayan of the Ankara High Criminal Court, ended Wednesday. Judge Kayan had carried out his search of top-secret military documents in the forces’ two “cosmic rooms,” where documents pertaining to state or military secrets are archived, as part of an investigation into an alleged assassination plot against Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç.
“According to information written in the search minutes, it is possible for us to say that the Ankara Special Forces Command has no other activity outside its duty and task,” Çubuklu said. “However, the principle of safety pertaining to some top-secret state plans has been violated. The plans in question, which were drafted and developed after many years of effort in line with the existing rules, have lost their validity. Therefore, these plans will be canceled.”
In regard to the search of the cosmic rooms, Çubuklu said the TSK had no reason to hesitate and nothing to hide and explained that the military did not object to the search by a civilian judge because it did not want to give the upper hand to commentators in media outlets who say “things are covert and documents and information are being kept secret.”
He said the search of the cosmic rooms was carried out at the judge’s insistence and following the delivery of a new court verdict.
The military official also gave a chronological account of the process regarding the claims of an assassination plot against Arınç. As part of the investigation into these allegations, eight soldiers were detained, but later released. Many “exaggerated, distorted news and commentaries appeared in the media” during that period, Çubuklu said, adding that the objective was to create and strengthen a negative perception of the TSK and spread it throughout society.
“How the event has evolved appeared in the visual media. The most important element here is the coverage of the event in some visual media,” Çubuklu said, referring to the media coverage of reports about tracking the judge who searched the cosmic rooms. “Again, a news agency turned up at the site Dec. 19 before everyone, recorded the images and distributed them to the media.”
The official said the developments throughout the entire process clearly demonstrated the TSK’s respect for the law, and that the latest events showed that the armed forces has never been involved in any illegal activity.
Another claim about the alleged plot was published in daily Taraf, which wrote that the military had plotted to provoke Greek fighter jets into shooting down a Turkish military jet. According to the daily, which claimed to have obtained 5,000 pages of documents and tapes, the alleged “Sledgehammer” plan was designed to portray the ruling party as unable to protect the public and to justify a takeover in 2003.
In a statement Thursday, the military rejected these claims, saying the documents quoted by the paper were part of a military training seminar and were never meant to be carried out, nor part of a conspiracy.
General Staff Secretary-General Ferit Güler said Friday that the military statement regarding the allegations was clear enough. He said the name of the exercise, which he did not reveal, was not the one quoted in the media. Repeating Thursday’s statement, Güler condemned the claims, saying, “I am wondering what the matter is here that cannot be understood.”