Turkish President, PM, army furious over report about '40 Gülenist generals'
ANKARAAn article published by a pro-government newspaper claiming that the Gülenists almost seized control of the Turkish army has infuriated President Abdullah Gül, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) with the latter arguing the move was aiming at tarnishing "institutional identity" of the military.
The first reaction to daily Akşam’s article that appeared on the headline of the newspaper on June 27 came from President Gül who issued a brief statement later in the day. The story was arguing that pro-Gülen officers took control of the TSK’s top decision-making bodies and that 40 high-ranking generals were under direct influence of what the government calls the “parallel state.”
U.S-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen is the leader of the movement, which is the ruling Justice and Development Party's (AKP) ally-turned-nemesis.
According to the statement issued by the Presidency, Gül described the article as an example of irresponsibility and expressed his deep sorrow. “At a moment when our region is passing through extraordinary developments; our president reminded that utmost sensibility should be displayed on publications about the Turkish Armed Forces as the guarantee of our national interests,” it read.
A more comprehensive statement came from the TSK early Saturday, which said it was observing a campaign against the army for the last few days through commentaries broadcasted in TV shows and in the newspapers. The purpose of such commentaries is to give the perception that some structures out of military hierarchy and discipline could well be flourished inside the TSK, the statement said.
“These comments and claims aiming at creating a negative perception about the TSK’s institutional identity and its personnel have no legal, humane and conscientiously basis. No any legal evidence or document have been sent to the TSK from intelligence organizations for making an administrative/legal investigation over such claims possible,” it stressed.
Recalling that the TSK has frequently stressed it was standing as a constitutional institution functioning upon the government’s instructions and within the frame of laws, the statement also said that it was its duty to clear the army from illegal structures and individuals.
After calling citizens to show utmost sensibility over such rumors, inaccurate news and commentaries, the army also stressed that it will take legal action against media organizations that commit such "smear campaigns" against the army.
Prime Minister Erdoğan's office also refused the allegations on June 28. "What should be done against the attempts to form secret structures in public institutions, including the TSK, is enshrined in the laws of our country, which has a democratic state based on the rule of law," the Prime Ministry said in a written statement, calling the media to be "more meticulous" about the issue.