Ousted soldiers tell story of Gülenist’s cadre efforts in military
ANKARAA number of soldiers who were suspended as a part of U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen’s followers’ past efforts to set up their own cadres have described the wrongdoings of the organization and how they were mistreated in the army, as new regulations paved the way for their return after the July 15 failed coup attempt, believed to have been masterminded by the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ).
Maj.Kemalettin Yakar, who was sentenced to 16 years of prison in the Balyoz (Sledgehammer) coup plot case and served 3.5 years in jail, said that since 2009 Turkish soldiers were shown “not only as coup plotters, but also crime machines.”
“Was the army going to carry out a coup? No it wasn’t going to. However, a coup was made against the army and the Turkish nation that took a lot from our country,” Yakar told daily Sözcü, adding that the period when soldiers were jailed in regards to the Balyoz case will stay as a “black mark” in Turkish history.
“I hope and want the people who put innocent people in the dungeons and allowed this to happen to give their accounts in front of justice,” he also said, while asking, “Who will apologize?”
“What’s going to happen to the material and moral loss that being jailed for 3.5 years brought me?” he also asked.
Balyoz was an alleged military coup plot targeting the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) which was allegedly drafted in 2003. The case’s indictment alleged that factions within the military had planned drastic actions to foment unrest in the country in order to remove the AKP from power.
All 236 suspects in the Balyoz coup plot case were acquitted on March 31, 2015, after the case’s prosecutor argued that digital data in the files submitted as evidence in the case was “fake” and did not constitute evidence.
Saying that he didn’t care about the dispute between the AKP and the Gülenists, Yakar insisted that he wanted the ones responsible of the Balyoz case to be trialed.
“I was released after they said that there was a conspiracy, but there are fellow soldiers still in jail. All of these cases were built on digital data. Why doesn’t the parliament pass a law regarding the ban on counting digital data as evidence by itself?” he asked, referring also to the Ergenekon case, a massive probe into hundreds of senior military personnel, journalists and politicians on charges of attempting to stage a coup against the Turkish government, in addition to Balyoz.
Another soldier who served a prison sentence of 3.5 years in relation to Balyoz and Poyrazköy, which probed the discovery of a large cache of ammunition in a military zone on the outskirts of Istanbul, said that “the danger hasn’t passed” after the failed coup attempt.
“Maybe there are people still waiting to make another [coup] attempt, but I don’t think it would be as powerful as the passed one,” Col. Ali Türkşen told Turkish broadcaster NTV, adding that he tried to make his voice heard regarding the Gülenist conspiracies but was not able to do so.
“The officials shut down the fire alarm, rather than putting out the fire,” he said.
Meanwhile, a pilot lieutenant who was jailed regarding the Atabeyler case, appealed for a retrial. Murat Eren’s lawyer said the judges that sentenced his client were arrested for being members of FETÖ after the failed takeover, adding the evidence shown to them was fake.
The Atabeyler case, regarded as “the first operation against the deep state” before the Ergenekon case, was concluded with the acquittal of all nine defendants on charges of “attempting to partly or completely block the government’s duties.”
Elsewhere, Chief of General Staff Military Chief Prosecutor Albay Mehmet Yüzbaşıoğlu and prosecutors Lt. Col. Hakan Kesgin and Lt. Eren Şen took a step to reassign the soldiers who were suspended from the army unjustly. A new law reportedly won’t be necessary to reassign the soldiers and an existing article “reversing the decision for the good of the law” will be applied.
The priority of reassignment will be given to pilots, as all of the suspensions carried out by FETÖ will be handled again.