Turkey's ex-army chief says trial 'frivolous,' leaves courtroom
AFP photoTurkey's former Chief of General Staff, Gen. İlker Başbuğ, has left the courtroom where a hearing of the ongoing "Internet Memorandum" case was being held today.
Başbuğ reportedly said the trial was "frivolous" and left the courtroom after the court had him listen to a phone recording between Ergenekon suspects İbrahim Şahin and Fatma Cengiz.
Başbuğ is charged with orchestrating propaganda efforts over the Internet to provoke political unrest in the country in accordance with the aims of the alleged Ergenekon gang.
Başbuğ said the allegations were unfounded and that the indictment had no credibility. "The Turkish Armed Forces is being accused through the charges against me," he said.
The former top soldier also said he would have taken action if he saw a criminal motive in the Internet Memorandum, in which the army allegedly sought to create numerous websites to discredit the Turkish government.
"My allegiance to democracy is evident," Başbuğ added.
Başbuğ said he should be tried at the Supreme Council, the name assumed by Turkey’s Constitutional Court when it oversees a criminal case, and that the current court was not authorized to try him.
"I will not defend myself from now on, nor will I answer any questions," Başbuğ said at the end of his five-minute defense.
Ergenekon is an alleged ultranationalist gang accused of plotting to overthrow the government by fomenting chaos in society.