Coup soldiers claim they raided Doğan Media Center over potential terror attack on night of coup attempt
ISTANBULTwo former soldiers who had conducted a raid on the Doğan Media Center in the Bağcılar district of Istanbul on the night of last year’s failed coup attempt have claimed that they had surrounded the building after having been given an order of a potential “terror attack” targeting the complex.
During the Aug. 7 hearing of the case at the 27th Istanbul High Criminal Court, former war academy student Cpt. Mehmet Akif Aslan refuted any links with the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), widely believed to have been behind the attempted takeover, and said they had received an order from a high-ranking officer to surround the building against a “terror attack.”
“Our commander Col. Ahmet [Zeki Gerehan] ordered us, ‘There will be a terror attack on CNN Türk and the building needs to be evacuated upon the order of the General Staff.’ We prepared and went [to the building]. The helicopter we were in landed on the parking lot of CNN Türk at 3:17 a.m. We said, ‘Immediately evacuate the building,’” Aslan said, adding that he would have been dismissed from the academy if he disobeyed the order.
He said the soldiers warned staff inside the building not to record, adding that they did not point their rifles at anyone.
“If they say, ‘There is a terror attack’ in the same way, I will go. I am sorry for being a tool in the coup attempt,” Aslan said.
Another former captain, Erdal Şeker, also said they arrived at the complex upon receiving an order over a possible terror attack, noting that he would have committed a crime if he had not obeyed the commander’s order.
“When we began to understand what was happening, I called Commander Ahmet Zeki Gerehan, who gave the order, and said citizens who arrived [in the scene] resisted against them and that there were also police. He persistently said, ‘There is an order, continue to evacuate it.’ I understood that I was fooled and decided to surrender,” Şeker said.
The Istanbul’s Chief Prosecutor’s Office had demanded three aggravated life sentences for each of the 19 soldiers at the building on charges of “attempting to overthrow the constitutional order” and “obstructing the duties of the Turkish Republic” in addition to jail terms ranging from 7.5 years to 15 years on charges of “being a member of an armed terror organization.”