Turkish Prime Minister Erdoğan visits ailing ex-general Saygun
Turkish Prime Minister Erdoğan visited the retired General Ergin Saygun's at the Mehmet Akif Ersoy hospital in Istanbul on Feb. 9. AA photo
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan visited retired general Ergin Saygun, whose 18-year prison sentence in the Balyoz (Sledgehammer) coup plot trial was postponed after a medical report released Feb. 7, at a hospital in Istanbul Feb. 9. The former general remains in critical condition after a heart operation hours after his prison sentence was postponed, but his daughter Ece Saygun wrote on her twitter account that his situation was “hopeful.” Erdoğan spoke with the doctors of Mehmet Akif Ersoy Hospital, where Saygun is still being treated, inquiring on his current state of health.
Erdoğan's significant visit to one of the convicted generals of the Balyoz case comes amid his public criticism of the long detention periods issued to army officials. He emphasized the poor health situation of some of the convicted former generals during a live television interview on Jan. 25 and also called Ece Saygun on Feb. 8 to convey his wishes for a speedy recovery to her father.
Short after Erdoğan's visit, Ece Saygun wrote on her Twitter account that her father has been very surprised and pleased. "It has lifted his spirits. Of course, we could not talk [about] anything. When my father wanted to speak, [doctors] took out his oxygen tubes. 'Thank you. You took effort [to come here],' he said. He said it of course over a long amount of time. We could not stay long by his side, only 5/7 minutes," she wrote.
President Abdullah Gül has been the latest state official to call the daughter of the hospitalized former general, the Turkish media reported Feb. 9. Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and General Chief of Staff of the Turkish Army Necdet Özel were also among the officials who called Ece Saygun to wish her father a speedy recovery