Army failed to spot all Gülenists: Chief of General Staff
Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar spoke to an Ankara court as a party witness for the case regarding the events at the Turkish General Staff Headquarters on the night of the failed coup on July 15, 2016, saying the army had failed to detect the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization’s (FETÖ) infiltration into the military.
“Taking into consideration FETÖ’s specialization in the structuring of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), especially the secrecy of their methods, it had not always been possible to detect and determine the military personnel who were FETÖ members,” Akar said in his testimony, answering the questions of the court judge on March 22.
“In my subordinates, none of the personnel employed were known to be affiliated with FETÖ, nor were those affiliated approved for employment,” he added.
The Ankara 17th Heavy Penalty Court heard Akar in a secret session on March 22 for a high profile case against 221 suspects, including former high-ranking generals, who have been accused of perpetrating the coup attempt, and including the 34-membered “Peace at Home Council,” which is considered the leading body for the failed coup.
Fethullah Gülen, who is accused of being the head of the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), is being tried in absentia.
Reiterating his earlier statements conveyed to the Public Prosecutor on July 18-19, 2016, Akar said he is a complainant about the suspects and demanded their punishment.
“I file a complaint against all the individuals within this treacherous terrorist organization who have caused harm to such degree,” he said.
“I spent my entire shift and energy to end this bloody coup attempt. Any thoughts concerning my own life had not even crossed my mind, other than thinking about my country and my nation from the moment that I learned of the [coup] attempt,” he added.
“During this process, I had no concern for my own well-being and I did not think to protect myself,” said Akar, in response to the question of whether he had considering using a panic button during the coup attempt.
He also answered questions indicating claims alleging he had not given orders to leave the barracks during the coup attempt.
“After the necessary measures had started being taken, the military personnel at the barracks had already completed their shifts and left. Only guard personnel were at the barrack,” he said.
“Thereby, in accordance to the nature of the intel, as of the hour, precautions had started to be taken. There was no need to order the personnel not to leave the barrack and it is self-evident there would be no practical benefit of such order,” Akar said.
He also responded to the allegations that he did not close Turkish airspace during the night, stating that the order extended to all of Turkey was given at 6:30 p.m. and the operation was completed for all air vehicles as of 7:26 p.m.
Gen. Yaşar Güler gives statement
Land forces General Yaşar Güler also gave a statement to the court as a plaintiff, stating he had invited Gen. Akar to the headquarters and National Intelligence Organization (MİT) Undersecretary Hakan Fidan had arrived at 6:15 p.m.
“The MİT Undersecretary informed us about the situation once more. He told us it might be a part of something bigger,” said Güler.