Failed coup attempt planned a week before July 15, indictment reveals
A plot to kidnap and assassinate Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on the night of the July 15 coup attempt was planned a week before the failed bid, at a meeting in a mansion in Ankara, a prosecutors’ indictment into 47 putschist soldiers has alleged.
The high-ranking soldiers and other followers of Fethullah Gülen, the main suspect in the coup attempt probe, met in a hotel in Ankara on July 8 to discuss the plot against Erdoğan, the prosecutors’ indictment, finalized on Nov. 29 in the Aegean province of Muğla, said.
According to the plot, Gülenist soldiers would kidnap Erdoğan, who was on vacation in a hotel in the resort town of Marmaris at the time, and take him to the Akıncı Air Base in Ankara, where the coup attempt was orchestrated.
Brig.-Gen. Gökhan Şahin Sönmezateş was ordered to head the plan, which was approved by Gülen, the prosecutors said.
Gülenists had allocated three teams from the Combat Search and Rescue Team (MAK), the Special Forces, and Underwater Demolition Team (SAT) to kidnap and assassinate Erdoğan.
The code “Barbaros” was used by the Special Forces and SAT, while the code “Kartal” was used by MAK in radio communications.
The suspects who raided Erdoğan’s hotel had handcuffed his guards. However, Erdoğan had left the hotel an hour earlier.
The putschist soldiers fired at the hotel from their helicopters.
Separately, a Greek court on Nov. 28 held the first hearing of a case regarding the potential extradition of eight Turkish military pilots who fled to the country a day after the July 15.
Lieutenants Feridun Çoban, Süleyman Özkaynakçı and Abdullah Yetik, who were the first three Turkish soldiers heard by the Greek Appeals Judge Commission, denied charges they were involved in the coup attempt and said they fled to Greece because they feared their lives would be at risk on the aftermath of July 15.
The soldiers, including two majors, flew their jets to Greece’s Alexandroupolis on July 16, prompting Greek authorities to begin legal and diplomatic processes on charges of illegal entry into the country.
In late July, a local Greek court sentenced the eight soldiers to two-month suspended prison terms on charges of illegally entering the country.
Greece’s political asylum commission had rejected the asylum application of seven of the soldiers, leaving just one more soldier to be reviewed for the process.