Former chief of staff arrested over plot claims
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Hürriyet photoTurkey's a former military chief has been arrested for allegedly attempting to destabilize Turkey's Islamic-rooted government through an Internet campaign.
Court ordered Gen. Ilker Basbug arrested pending trial. That makes himthe most senior officer to be jailed in a series of investigations into alleged plots to bring down Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government.
An Istanbul prosecutor had directed former Chief of General Staff Gen. İlker Başbuğ to a court with a request for his arrest in an ongoing case.
The prosecutor charged Başbuğ with leading a terrorist organization and attempting to overthrow the Turkish government.
Başbuğ arrived at an Istanbul courthouse and testified as a suspect in an ongoing case for seven hours.
It was the first time in Turkey's history that a former chief of staff is being testified by a prosecutor.
The ongoing Internet Memorandum case refers to an alleged document by the General Staff about setting up 42 Internet sites to distribute propaganda against the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), as well as Greeks and Armenians.
Suspects in the Internet Memorandum case, including Dursun Çiçek, a retired colonel, have said a number of websites that are being investigated as part of the probe were set up with Başbuğ’s knowledge.
Başbuğ reportedly approved the document that ordered the foundation of the websites.
Gen. Hüseyin Nusret Taşdeler; Gen. Hasan Iğsız; Gen. Mehmet Eröz; Gen. İsmail Hakkı Pekin; Gen. Mustafa Bakıcı; Adm. Alaettin Sevim; Col. Sedat Özüer and retired Col. Fuat Selvi are among the arrested suspects in the trial.
On Dec. 30, 2011, an Istanbul court filed a criminal complaint against Başbuğ, whose name was mentioned in the suspects’ pleas and other documents and ruled that a written notice be sent to the Istanbul Chief Prosecutor’s Office for the relevant procedures to be initiated.
Istanbul chief prosecutor Cihan Kansız then launched an investigation into allegations regarding Başbuğ in accordance with the court’s demand.
Sezgin Tanrıkulu, deputy leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), questioned the timing of the prosecutor’s move.
“Of course, top commanders can also be questioned, probed and put on trial, but there is another purpose here,” Tanrıkulu was quoted as saying by Doğan news agency.
Despite choosing to conduct a probe into a botched air raid that killed 35 civilians last week in secret, the judiciary has openly “provided all the information available regarding İlker Başbuğ being called to testify, down to the questions he will be asked,” Tanrıkulu said.