Facing e-coup charges, Başbuğ makes show of defiance in court
ISTANBUL - Anatolia News Agency
Holding a placard saying ‘A life is not enough for motherland love,’ supporters of give support to former Chief of General Staff Başbuğ, who is on trial for coup allegations. DHA photoTurkey’s former Chief of Staff Gen. İlker Başbuğ left the courtroom where a hearing of the ongoing “Internet Memorandum” case was being held yesterday.
Başbuğ reportedly said the trial was “frivolous” and left the courtroom after the court had him listen to a phone recording between Ergenekon suspects İbrahim Şahin and Fatma Cengiz, in which the two allegedly talk about him (Başbuğ).
The case continued following a break, however Başbuğ refused to answer questions directed by the chief judge.
“We had prepared several questions. However we are going to keep our right to ask direct questions since he (Başbuğ) said he will not speak,” prosecutor Mehmet Ali Pekgüzel said.
Başbuğ is charged with orchestrating propaganda efforts over the Internet to provoke political unrest in the country in accordance with the aims of the alleged Ergenekon gang.
Başbuğ dismissed the indictment brought against him as a farce, challenged the authority of the court to try him and refused to issue his defense plea in the case on the “Action Plan to Combat Reactionism.”
“The Supreme Council is where I ought to be tried. I faithfully served my country, nation, state and my armed forces throughout the 53 years I have been wearing the Turkish military’s uniform with honor and pride... Accept this speech not as a defense plea but as a [statement] elucidating why I will not issue my defense plea in accordance with my legal rights,” Başbuğ said yesterday in an Istanbul court.
Turkey’s former top general said he had never behaved unlawfully in his life and his allegiance to democracy was evident. Başbuğ also referred to the indictment against him as “a comedy of incompetence” during his five-minute defense.
“My sole worry is that my beautiful country and my beautiful people are drifting toward division and polarization due to various reasons, as many people of common sense have also pointed out,” he said.
Başbuğ stands accused of orchestrating propaganda efforts over the Internet to foment political unrest in the country in accordance with the aims of the alleged Ergenekon gang in the “Internet Memorandum” case, which had earlier been merged with the investigation into the “Action Plan to Combat Reactionism.”
“Are those who are accusing me [now] unaware that not a single Internet site was launched during my term of command, and that we also shut down existing ones? Are my accusers unaware that I would have unwaveringly ordered an investigation had I come across any criminal elements in the Internet Memorandum?” he said.
Başbuğ said it was unheard of anywhere in the world that a country’s chief of staff would both serve as the head of his country’s armed forces and as the leader of a terrorist organization.
“Unlike what some have thought and claimed, I endeavored with all my strength and laid down my entire material and moral being during my tenure as the army commander and the Chief of General Staff to eliminate the problem of terror that was brought down upon our country,” he said.
“I will not defend myself from now on, nor will I answer any questions,” Başbuğ concluded his remarks.
Ergenekon is an alleged ultranationalist gang accused of plotting to overthrow the government by causing chaos in society.