Former chiefs engage in blame game over Balyoz

Former chiefs engage in blame game over Balyoz

Former chiefs engage in blame game over Balyoz

Ex-general Aytaç Yalman (2nd L), who served as Land Forces Commander between 2002 and 2004, is seen with other top commanders in this file photo.

The seminar at issue was held between March 5 and 7, 2003, and was presented as the gathering in which Doğan, head of the 1st Army, organized and rehearsed the Balyoz coup plan.

“The seminar was nothing but a show of heroism that took place against an order, violating social rules and going beyond its purpose and limit,” Yalman said in a statement.

Asserting he only learned about the agenda of the seminar by sending a general to observe, Yalman said his order was violated but added that what transpired was only “pretentious heroism.”

Even though the statement did not include any names, Yalman’s remarks were interpreted as targeting Doğan, who is known to have organized the seminar.

Doğan refuted Yalman’s statement within a few hours, speaking during a hearing in the Feb. 28 coup case, in which he is one of the top suspects.

“Aytaç Yalman had sent a scenario to the seminar. He did not send any message saying not to play this scenario,” Doğan said at the hearing when a lawyer cited an interview with Yalman.

“If he is saying, ‘I don’t know about it,’ then why did he occupy the seat of the Command of the Land Forces? There is no right to rebel at the chain of command in the TSK [Turkish Armed Forces]. There is no lack of discipline, it is no guild of janissaries,” Doğan said, according to Anadolu Agency.

The Balyoz coup plot case was brought to the agenda after documents titled “Balyoz Operation Plan,” dating back to 2003, were revealed by Turkish daily Taraf three years ago. 

Convicts’ criticism

An Istanbul court determined a seminar organized by Doğan to be a coup plot, which the State Council approved in a decision released on Oct. 9.

In the statement he published, Yalman also sought to shoot down criticisms from Balyoz coup case convicts that targeted him for not giving testimony.

“Because we have remained silent, we have been depicted as guilty in the eyes of the public. I want to say ‘enough,’” Yalman said in the statement, mainly penned to respond to a letter recently written by his comrade in arms who has been convicted as part of the Balyoz case.

The Balyoz case convicts in Hasdal Military Prison in Istanbul accused Yalman of not saying the truth by giving testimony at the court, neglecting a number of the suspects’ requests in a letter addressed to him over the weekend. 

“While the convicts are depicted as heroes due to the negativities caused by the political and social environment in Turkey, they are trying to disgrace and even exclude those like me, who are trying to stand by their friends’ sides despite not having any relevance with the case and was even injured because of this issue,” the statement said.