Former general defends ex-Gen Başbuğ in coup case testimony

Former general defends ex-Gen Başbuğ in coup case testimony

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet
Former general defends ex-Gen Başbuğ in coup case testimony

Former Chief of General Staff Gen. Işık Koşaner. Hürriyet Photo

Former Chief of General Staff Gen. Işık Koşaner has defended his predecessor, İlker Başbuğ, an imprisoned suspect in the alleged Ergenekon coup plot case, in written witness testimony sent to the case’s file.

Koşaner said he had not witnessed Başbuğ exert any pressure against the government, adding that the latter had not taken any action that might have caused chaos in the country.

“In the high-level meetings, I have not witnessed any remark or action of Gen. Başbuğ that can be described as pressure on state officials or the government,” Koşaner said in his written statement in response to lawyers’ questions.

He said the participants in high-level meetings voice their worries, demands and proposals which might not coincide with each other. “However, these issues reach a result in line with the norms of a statesman,” said Koşaner.

The Ergenekon court previously decided not to hear Koşaner and other senior commanders as witnesses. Koşaner said he did not have any information about the claims that his predecessor had entered the Turkish army on behalf of an illegal organization; by contrast, Başbuğ made the security of the country and the fight against terrorism the main agenda during his terms, said Koşaner.

Koşaner also said that on June 12, 2009, he ordered the opening of an investigation into a media report about “Action Plan for the Fight against Fundamentalism,” because Başbuğ was abroad at the time for an official visit. He also denied claims that former Deputy Chief of General Staff Gen. Hasan Iğsız and Başbuğ asked him not to open the investigation.

Başbuğ’s lawyer demanded the court hear Koşaner as a witness in the court on Feb. 18, saying Koşaner would willingly present himself to the courthouse. The court, however, denied the demand.