Ex-army chief claims PM opted not to move against Gülenists
Deniz Zeyrek HÜRRİYET / ANKARA
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was supplied with intelligence regarding the police officers who were allegedly conducting operations on behalf of the Gülenist “parallel structure,” but he failed to act then, Turkey’s former Chief of Staff İlker Başbuğ has claimed.
“We investigated the issue after the arrests of and probes against the members of the Turkish Armed Forces at the time. We compiled the information provided by various institutions and presented it to Prime Minister [Erdoğan],” Başbuğ told daily Hürriyet.
“He took the file, listened to us and told us that he will ‘inspect and evaluate’ it. However, during my tenure as commander, nothing happened,” he said.
Başbuğ’s remarks came after Erdoğan quoted the ex-army chief once telling him that the Gülenists, who “hit the army now, will one day hit the government.”
Başbuğ, who was sentenced to life imprisonment last year in the Ergenekon coup trial, was released on March 7 after 26 months in detention.
Massive graft probes that were based on wiretappings and targeting several government figures late last year created a rift between the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its ally-turned-nemesis, the Gülen movement.
Alleged Gülenist police officials who took part in the Ergenekon investigation were arrested this month as part of an investigation into the claims of illegal wiretapping of Erdoğan and his inner circle.
Police chief Gaffur Ataç, who had once escorted Başbuğ to prison, was among the detained officers.
“I have mixed feelings now as I’m watching those who conducted those operations against us. But we have no feelings of revenge or hate. We just want justice,” Başbuğ said.
“We are talking about people who planned, played a role or stood behind what was done to the Armed Forces. They should also be tried justly,” he added.