Army complains of leaks in investigation in Turkey

Army complains of leaks in investigation in Turkey

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Army complains of leaks in investigation in Turkey

Chief of General Staff Gen. Özel (L) attends the April 23 reception in Parliament. AA photo

The army has been fully cooperating with the investigation launched into last year’s botched Uludere airstrike, but complains that “no one observes the secrecy of the judiciary’s decisions,” according to Chief of General Staff Gen. Necdet Özel.

Özel’s remarks particularly targeted Parliament’s Human Rights Commission, whose findings on the raid have been regularly leaked to the media and have recently criticized the General Staff for withholding information.

“We are not hiding anything. We are handing over to prosecutors whatever information and documents we have,” Özel told reporters at the April 23 reception in Parliament.

The documents sent to the commission by the General Staff were selected after the approval of the prosecutor in Diyarbakır handling the judicial investigation into the Dec. 28 airstrike, which claimed the lives of 34 civilians mistaken for Kurdish militants.

“The judiciary has taken a secrecy decision over the probe but no one is observing it,” Özel said. The authorities have yet to say who supplied the faulty intelligence that prompted the strike.

Özel also stressed that the law exempting individuals from military service in exchange for a monetary payment has failed to generate the expected interest. As the June 15 deadline approaches, approximately 22,500 men have applied to benefit from the arrangement so far. Despite apparent misgivings from the military, Parliament approved the option in November. The government previously said it had expected around 100,000 applications. Hinting at the financial burden that would accompany overhauling the country’s military to a fully professional army, Özel rejected the shift.

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