Başbuğ seeks trial in Supreme Council
ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
Former chief of Gen. Staff İlker Başbuğ was arrested on Jan. 6 in Istanbul.Following last week’s arrest chief of Turkey’s former General Staff İlker Başbuğ, discussions on whether Başbuğ will be tried in the Supreme Council or in civilian court continue.
The former head of Turkey’s armed forces, Gen. Ilker Başbuğ, should be tried in the Supreme Council if he is charged with plotting to overthrow the government, his lawyer said.
Lawyer Ilkay Sezer said late Jan. 7 that his client Başbuğ had worked in tandem with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) government for seven years and he was stunned by the belated accusations against him.
“There has been no allegation of a crime until now, that is 1.5 years following his retirement ... He says it is beyond his comprehension,” Sezer told Reuters.
Sezer said any indictment should be framed by the Supreme Court of Appeals and the case heard by Turkey’s top court.
Başbuğ, chief of General Staff from 2008 to 2010, was sent to Silivri prison outside Istanbul on Jan. 6 after an Istanbul court ordered he remain in custody while the prosecution completed its investigation and prepared formal charges.
Sezer said he was appealing against the custody order.
Meanwhile, Vedat Ahsen Coşar, the head of the Turkish Bar Association (TBB), in a written statement on Sunday said Başbuğ’s charges were related to his duty and therefore he should be judged in the Supreme Council.
Still some lawyers said he may be tried in civilian court since his charges were not related to his post.
“He would be tried in the Supreme Council if the charges were related to his position. However, he is charged with ‘leading an outlawed organization’ and ‘attempting to overthrow the government by force’ and they are not directly related to that,” Mete Göksel, former public prosecutor, said, adding that other Armed Forces members, who were also being tried in the same case, were tried in civilian court.Başbuğ was placed in a one-person cell in Silivri Prison on Jan. 6 following his arrest on charges of “leading an outlawed organization” and “attempting to overthrow the government by force” in the early hours of the day.
It was the first time a former top general had been arrested by a civilian court in Turkey.
Başbuğ was arrested for having alleged associations with the ongoing Internet Memorandum case and other allegations pertaining to the “Action Plan to Combat Reactionism” trial.
While Başbuğ’s arrest was echoed in both local and international media, Turkey’s daily Taraf reported that Başbuğ in his testimony pointed to retired Gen. Hasan Iğsız, the former head of the First Army who is also under arrest, for initialing the documents that are claimed to be the evidence in the case.
However Iğsız’s lawyer Murat Ergül said his client would not sign any documents without the knowledge of the chief of General Staff and the only reason for initializing the documents was because he submitted them to his higher rank Başbuğ.