Indictment details clashes during coup attempt at Ankara gendarmerie HQ

Indictment details clashes during coup attempt at Ankara gendarmerie HQ

Indictment details clashes during coup attempt at Ankara gendarmerie HQ The Ankara chief prosecutor’s office on June 29 sent an indictment detailing clashes at the gendarmerie headquarters in the Turkish capital during the July 2016 coup attempt, accusing a total of 244 suspects, to the 23rd Heavy Penal Court. 

The indictment prepared by prosecutor Ender Coşkun accused the suspects of “attempting to remove or replace the constitutional order,” “attempting to destroy the Turkish Parliament or preventing it from carrying out its duties by using force and violence,” and “being members of an armed terrorist organization,” state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

The coup is widely believed to have been masterminded by what the authorities call the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen.

The gendarmerie headquarters in Ankara’s Beştepe was a site where severe clashes took place between FETÖ-linked military soldiers who were trying to take control of the HQ and police and gendarmerie personnel who tried to stop them.

Nine civilians and police officers lost their lives in the area after FETÖ-linked soldiers opened fire on civilians who tried to block the coup and came to the security gate of the gendarmerie headquarters.

The indictment said jets and helicopters that took off from the Akıncı Airbase, which was used as the headquarters of the attempted putsch, had helped the FETÖ-linked soldiers during their attempt to take control of the gendarmerie headquarters. One of the jets dropped a bomb on a bridge in front of the HQ, where civilians were also located, the indictment stated.

One of the key suspects included in the indictment is former gendarmerie colonel Erkam Öktem, who is accused of attempting to kill the Counter-Terror department (TEM) head Turgut Arslan during the coup attempt. 

Öktem had denied the charges in his testimony to the prosecutor’s office but surveillance footage included in the indictment as evidence shows Öktem and others taking Arslan, whose eyes were covered and hands were tied, outside to the HQ garden on the morning of July 16, 2016.

“After the footage was analyzed from 05:59:44, it was determined the TEM head Turgut Aslan had his hands tied behind him and he was shot in the garden of the headquarters with the intent of killing him. He survived but sustained critical injuries and [Arslan’s] security guard - police officer Hasan Gülhan - who was taken out of the building from the same place, was martyred by the gunfire of the putschists,” the indictment stated.