ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
The “parallel structure” of state officials sympathetic to U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen “misled and deceived” Turkey through the Ergenekon and “Balyoz” (Sledgehammer) coup-plot cases, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
has said, claiming that he had personally objected to the arrest of top commanders and officers.
Delivered his first speech as commander in chief at the War Colleges Command on March 19, Erdoğan referred to various topics from the Gallipoli Campaign to the coup-plot cases, saying the Turkish Army had always faced dangers throughout its history.
“The whole nation was misled and deceived, starting with me. We were all victims of a coup attempt by a structure that was organized within state institutions, with strong media support, which tried to seize the country. I sincerely express that I personally never found it in my heart to accept that the former chief of staff and other commanders, who I know very well, were arrested,” he said.
Erdoğan also claimed that he had voiced his concerns about the arrests of the commanders at the time, but “due to the false documents and misinformation” his government could do nothing with respect to the law.
“This structure, which I have approached and observed cautiously for a long time, attempted to overthrow the government and seize the country in Dec. 17 and Dec. 25, 2013. They targeted all of our national institutions and projects, along with me, in an operation launched under the guise of corruption,” he added, referring to the corruption probes targeting government figures.
Meanwhile, Erdoğan also stressed the necessity of a powerful defense industry and army for a deterrent force in his speech.
“We must have a powerful army, not just for our own safety but for all of our brothers and sisters who have pinned their faith upon us. But our will to have a powerful army and defense industry does not mean that we have land or military attacks in mind,” said the president.