Nationalist Movement Party leader visits ex-top soldier in jail
Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli speaks to reporters in front of the Silivri Prison after meeting with İlker Başbuğ and Engin Alan. DAILY NEWS photo / Emrah GürelNationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli visited yesterday Silivri Prison to meet former Chief of General Staff retired Gen. İlker Başbuğ and Gen. Engin Alan, who is also a MHP deputy.
Bahçeli called on the judiciary to serve justice for Başbuğ and sharply criticized the ongoing talks between the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party’s (PKK) jailed leader Abdullah Öcalan and Turkish officials. “Unfortunately, one of our precious generals who served as the head of the Turkish Armed Forces is behind bars allegedly for ganging up and leading a terrorist organization. It is obvious that this baseless, unfair and relentless claim hurts the sense of justice,” said Bahçeli after a two-hour meeting inside the prison yesterday.
‘Target is the military’
Başbuğ reportedly told Bahçeli that “he would prefer to languish in prison instead of taking advantage of the same amnesty law as terrorist organization members,” MHP sources told the Hürriyet Daily News after the meeting.
“This is a process targeting the Turkish Armed Forces. This process especially targets the part inside the Army that had a struggle against the terrorists, the separatist terror. Trials were not lawful and I am not expecting a verdict that will clear consciences,” Başbuğ further said, according to the same sources.
Bahçeli was accompanied by six MHP officials, including Semih Yalçın, Ruhsar Demirel, Şevket Çetin, İsmet Büyükataman, Celal Adan and Atilla Kaya during his visit. The MHP leader was granted permission from the Justice Ministry for the visit after announcing that he was going to visit Başbuğ “since the visits became more frequent to İmralı Island,” where Öcalan’s prison is located.
“Seeing that visits to İmralı got more frequent, meeting the terrorists’ head became divine. That Imrali terrorist is yours, we will go to Silivri and embrace Başbuğ, who fought against terrorists magnificently,” Bahçeli said Jan. 8 in his party’s group meeting.
“Today, our nation does not approve of this decline, negotiating with the İmrali murderer and jailing the ones who fought against him... this tramples on the Turkish state’s prestige,” Bahçeli said.
Bahçeli also met Engin Alan, who was sentenced to 18 years in prison as part of the Balyoz (Sledgehammer) coup plot case which allegedly sought to undermine the government and lay the groundwork for a military takeover. The MHP had nominated Alan, a former Special Forces commander, in the general elections of 2011 while Alan was jailed and standing trial.
Başbuğ, on the other hand, is being tried in connection with alleged membership in the Ergenekon coup plot.
Göksel Bozkurt from Ankara and Erdem Güneş from Istanbul contributed to this report.