End judicial shame, says jailed former top soldier
In an open letter sent to daily Hürriyet, former Chief of General Staff İlker Başbuğ calls for an end to ‘judicial shame’ in alleged coup case. Daily News Photo / Emrah GürelEntering the first anniversary of his imprisonment, former Chief of General Staff Gen. İlker Başbuğ has sent a letter requesting “the end of judicial shame” from Istanbul’s Silivri prison, where he is being held for his alleged leadership of a terrorist organization in the ongoing Ergenekon coup-plot case.
“How long more will judiciary power continue to bear the shame of charging someone who led the Turkish military with collecting and leading a terrorist organization?” Başbuğ wrote in a letter addressed to daily Hürriyet yesterday. In his letter, former top soldier Başbuğ also expressed his belief that the trial would not end in a fair verdict.
‘Terrorist organization in the witness dock’
Başbuğ was arrested on the night of Jan. 6, 2012 on charges of heading a terrorist organization and attempting to overthrow the government.
“Unfortunately, the court board achieved the success of putting a chief of general staff in the dock and a terror organization leader in the witness dock,” the letter continued.
Başbuğ also hinted at the revealed identity of a secret witness in the case. Şemdin Sakık, a former top militant of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and a close aide of its convicted leader Abdullah Öcalan, had announced his name in the case on Nov. 6.
Last month, an Istanbul court rejected the acquittal pleas for 67 suspects in the Ergenekon coup case. The suspects demanding acquittal included former Chief of General Staff Başbuğ, as well as Republican Peoples’ Party (CHP) deputies Mustafa Balbay and Mehmet Haberal, and retired Brig. Gen. Veli Küçük, postponed the next hearing to Dec. 27.
‘NO ROLE IN TANK ROLLING’
Former Chief of General Staff İsmail Hakkı Karadayı, who was
freed late Jan. 3 after giving a two-hour long testimony about his
alleged role in the “post-modern coup” of 1997, said he did not play a
role in rolling of tanks in the streets of the Sincan district of Ankara
in 1997 following an Islamic gathering organized by the municipality.
The incident had been seen as a threat to the government led by Islamist Necmettin Erbakan at the time. Karadayı said that when he learned of tanks rolling in the streets of Sincan he was angry and questioned the incident, also adding that his deputy at the time, retired Gen. Çevik Bir who was himself arrested in April 2012, also played no role in the infamous incident. “Tanks used the same route every year on the road to military exercises, but the usual road was under construction at that time and they were forced to use the city center, where a tank broke down,” he told columnist Fikret Bila from daily Milliyet, denying claims that the incident threatened the government.