Ex-commander laments ‘injustice’ against army

Ex-commander laments ‘injustice’ against army

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Ex-commander laments ‘injustice’ against army

Former Navy Adm Nusret Güner (R) meets with Chief of General Staff Gen Necdet Özel in this late January photo, soon after his resignation. DHA photo

After months-long silence upon his resignation which was accepted in late January, former Navy Adm. Nusret Güner got his feelings of resentment off his chest as he made clear that his resignation was a reaction particularly against rulings in the Balyoz (Sledgehammer) coup plot case as well as charges against military members involving an alleged military espionage gang.

In an interview with Sözcü daily newspaper published on July 28, Güner noted he was not shaving his moustache and beard in order to protest unfair charges of coup planning and espionage against members of the Naval Forces.

“I’m protesting those who put the Naval forces into this situation and the authorities who remained silent to this,” Güner was quoted as saying by Sözcü, as he also praised high standards of the Turkish Naval Forces. “They tried to finish the Naval Forces. Nobody shall say: ‘The Naval forces would make a coup,’ ‘There were 100 spies.’”

At the time, Güner’s resignation came as the latest episode bringing to light the discontentment of senior officers. According to his wife, speaking to press then, Güner’s resignation was a reaction to the ongoing investigations into unfair arrests, spying and blackmailing inside the Turkish Navy.

At the time, media reports highlighted that Güner’s resignation came soon after an Istanbul court accepted an indictment regarding the case of an alleged espionage gang in İzmir, and Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç indicated that Güner and his daughter were victims of the gang, while he expressed his sympathy for the resigned commander.

“On Sept. 21, 2012, I lost my entire faith in the law, in the judicial system. I kept patient for one week after this ruling,” Güner told Sözcü, noting that he eventually drafted his letter of resignation on Sept. 28, 2012.

With the particular date, Güner was apparently referring to a Sept. 21, 2012 ruling in the Balyoz case with which a total of 331 of the 365 suspects were sentenced to prison terms.

Some 250 of those defendants in the Balyoz coup plot case went on for about three years have been under arrest, including opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Deputy Engin Alan, former Air Forces Chief Halil İbrahim Fırtına, former Navy Chief Özden Örnek, 1st Army Chief Çetin Doğan, and some other high-ranking retired generals.

As of July 15, the appeal trial of the Balyoz kicked off at the Supreme Court of Appeals and is still going on as the judges have been doing appellate review of the case with 361 defendants.

“Believe me; my heart is so much burning. You know, for whom? For the Turkish nation who kept silent to this [situation],” Güner said.