Davutoğlu ‘stands behind’ Army’s denial of coup plans

Davutoğlu ‘stands behind’ Army’s denial of coup plans

Davutoğlu ‘stands behind’ Army’s denial of coup plans

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Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said he stood behind a March 31 announcement by the Turkish General Staff, which denied allegations that some members of the military were planning a coup, adding the statement was released “upon his permission.”

“The statement by our Chief of Staff [Hulusi Akar] was issued upon my permission and I stand behind that announcement,” Davutoğlu told a group of reporters from Turkish daily Habertürk. 

“I will never accept the Turkish Armed Forces [TSK] being presented as though it stands outside of our democratic system,” he added, explaining that Gen. Hulusi Akar, Turkey’s Chief of General Staff, consulted him prior to releasing the statement. 

The Turkish PM stressed his belief that the statement does not constitute a violation of democratic customs, underlining the “old Turkey” where the military exercised power over political institutions was “far away.”

“Today, no one can think of exercising power over the legitimate democratic system through the Armed Forces. The TSK is at the service of the democratic government that came into power with the votes of the people and earned it legitimacy through the people,” he said. 

Davutoğlu praised the devotion of the military to security operations against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) being carried out in the country’s southeast, stating it successfully carried out all orders “word for word.”

The prime minister also touched upon the alleged group inside the military linked to the Fethullah Gülen movement – dubbed the “parallel state” by the Justice and Development Party-led government – which some media outlets speculated was planning a coup d’état in Turkey. 

“In case there is a parallel formation [inside the military], I have full confidence and belief that the TSK will eliminate that group on its own,” he said. 

The Turkish General Staff rejected claims by media outlets that plans to stage a coup were underway by a “parallel establishment” within the military. It added that it had taken legal action against the outlets over “damaging morale,” while the country faces an almost unprecedented combination of national security threats. 

 “News and commentaries in some media organs without any foundation naturally influence the morale and motivation of our heroic comrades-in-arms negatively and make all our members uncomfortable,” the General Staff said in a rare political statement posted on its official website.

“Discipline, absolute obedience and single order command is essential in the TSK. It is not possible for there to be any concessions to any illegal and out-of-command chain hierarchy establishment or action,” said the statement, without giving further specifics.

“The administrative and legal mechanisms of the TSK, which take its strength from the deep love and trust of the people and express their adherence to democracy at every opportunity, are employed constantly and effectively,” the TSK said, reaffirming its commitment to democracy, as Turkey’s military has a long history of intervening in politics, pressuring an Islamist-led government out of power as recently as 1997.

Certain media outlets have carried reports speculating over the possibility of a military coup in Turkey, with Erdoğan out of the country for almost a week on a visit to the United States. An opinion piece written by scholar Michael Rubin published in Newsweek entitled “Will there be a coup against Erdoğan in Turkey?” had gathered major attention in and outside the country.