Gülenist generals report 'designed to influence retirement decision’
The sources also said the report came just before the YAŞ meeting where the retirement of army members are decided.A pro-government newspaper’s report claiming that the Gülenists almost seized control of the Turkish army is aimed at influencing the upcoming decision of the Supreme Military Council (YAŞ), high-ranking military officers believe, according to daily Cumhuriyet.
“Many military officers have been sentenced to the jail terms in coup-plot cases such as ‘Balyoz’ [Sledgehammer], Ergenekon and the military espionage cases. However, these cases turned out to be plots against these officers and the government also agreed on that. All the charges started to be removed in time. Now, some want to remove certain people in the army who love their country and have no ties with the illegal organizations by using such reports,” said unnamed military sources, according to Cumhuriyet.
The sources also said the report came just before the YAŞ meeting where the retirement of army members are decided.
Daily Akşam’s June 28 story argued that pro-Gülen officers took control of the TSK’s top decision-making bodies and that 40 high-ranking generals were under the direct influence of what the government calls the “parallel state.”
U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen is the leader of the movement, which is the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) ally-turned-nemesis.
President Abdullah Gül, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) reacted angrily to Akşam’s article, with the latter arguing that the move aimed to tarnish the “institutional identity” of the military.
The first reaction to Akşam’s article, which headlined the paper’s June 27 edition, came from Gül, who issued a brief statement later in the day.
Gül’s office described the article as an example of irresponsibility and expressed his deep sorrow. “At a moment when our region is experiencing extraordinary developments, our president reminded that the utmost sensibility should be displayed on publications about the Turkish Armed Forces as the guarantee of our national interests,” it read.
A more comprehensive statement came from the TSK early June 28, saying it had been observing a campaign against the army for the last few days through commentaries broadcast on TV shows and in newspapers. The purpose of such commentaries is to give the perception that some structures from outside the military hierarchy could flourish inside the TSK, the statement said.
“These comments and claims aiming at creating a negative perception about the TSK’s institutional identity and its personnel have no legal, humane and conscientious basis. No legal evidence or document has been sent to the TSK from intelligence organizations for making an administrative/legal investigation over such claims possible,” it stressed.
Recalling that the TSK has frequently stressed that is a constitutional institution functioning upon the government’s instructions and within the frame of the law, the statement also said it was its duty to extirpate illegal structures and individuals from the army.
After calling on citizens to show the utmost sensibility over such rumors, inaccurate news and commentaries, the army also stressed that it would take legal action against media organizations that commit such “smear campaigns” against the forces.
Erdoğan’s office also refuted the allegations on June 28. “What should be done against the attempts to form secret structures in public institutions, including the TSK, is enshrined in the laws of our country, which has a democratic state based on the rule of law,” the Prime Ministry said in a written statement, calling the media to be “more meticulous” about the issue.