MPs protest former Turkish chief of staff’s coup commission no-show
Umut Erdem – ANKARAPolitical parties at the Turkish Parliament have criticized former Chief of General Staff Necdet Özel’s decision to not give a verbal testimony at the parliamentary commission investigating the failed July 15 coup attempt.
MPs at the commission from different political parties, including the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), reacted negatively to Özel’s decision to decline to contribute to the commission in person and instead answer its questions in written form.
Commission member Aytun Çıray, a deputy of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), said Özel could be “a name who may be prosecuted” and urged commission members to object to his decision.
Çıray said the period under Özel’s term, from July 2011 to August 2015, was a significant era when sympathizers of the U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen infiltrated into state institutions.
“It looks like he did not take action over the list [of Gülenists] he was given. He had an unserious attitude,” said Çıray, adding that Özel’s failure to show up at the commission could lead him to be publicly charged.
Aykut Erdoğdu, also a commission member from the CHP, proposed filing a criminal complaint against Özel on charges of official negligence and exploitation.
Commission member Selçuk Özdağ, a deputy from the ruling AKP, said they could resend the request for Özel to testify in person, “expressing the sensitivity over the matter here.”
Mehmet Erdoğan, a commission member from the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), said it was not “possible to understand why Özel is avoiding attending the commission,” stressing that it was very important for the commission to probe him.
As part of the investigation work, former Chiefs of Staff Hilmi Özkök and Işık Koşaner have already testified in person at the commission.