Coup plotters planned to escape from Turkey in transport planes: Defense minister
AA photoSoldiers involved in the thwarted July 15 coup attempt planned to escape from Turkey in transport planes as soon as they realized that their takeover bid had failed, Defense Minister Fikri Işık has said, commenting on events that unfolded at Ankara’s Akıncı Air Base.
“They made three transport planes ready when they understood that the coup had failed and they planned to escape from Akıncı,” Işık told state-run Anadolu Agency on Aug. 18, adding that Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım’s order to hit the air base prevented them from escaping.
“If the air base had not been hit, nearly all the coup plotters would be fugitives abroad today,” he added.
The Akıncı Air Base was the center of the coup attempt, believed to have been masterminded by the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), with top force commanders including Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar taken hostage but later rescued in a special forces operation.
Işık recently said the government aimed to relocate a number of troops in Istanbul and Ankara by mid-September, adding that the Akıncı Air Base would be opened to the public as a “democracy park.”
Saying Turkey is “now stronger than it was on the night of July 15,” the defense minister also stressed that the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) would now find it impossible to get support from rogue elements inside Turkey’s military.
“The traitors who infiltrated into the Turkish Armed Forces have been cleansed and it has been made impossible for the PKK to get support from inside the army. I think it’s very valuable for people in the region to cooperate closely with the security forces in terms of our region’s future. The state and the people won’t let those traitors act. I know that people are very sensitive about informing nearby security officers about possible attacks,” Işık said, commenting after the PKK’s deadly Aug. 18 attack on a police headquarters in the eastern province of Elazığ.
He vowed that the “struggle against terrorism” would continue and “the terrorists will pay the price.”
“We will strike the PKK’s treason just as we did to FETÖ,” Işık said.